Pax Aeterna

In Memoriam:  Francine Wiley


I have reached

To this sad height,

Remembering you,

My sister.

At last,

I understand you,

When I wish, instead,

That I could rave

Against the dying

Of the light.


The twin peaks,

The foremost peak.

For years,

I sat here mesmerized

By the power

Of the panorama.


The wind is stiff

And steady.

I witness

A tentacle of fog

Snaking far into the city

On my left.


Uncoils to my right.

I feel the viscous body

Massing at my back,

The maw at my neck.

I dare not turn.


In front of me,

The glistering beauty

Gauzes over;

The wisps of white

Become a web;

The city goes opaque

And is lost.


I turn to face my hades,

Like others of its kind,

A darkscape

Of indeterminate shadows.

Their stains lengthen

With the ending of day.

In this atmosphere

Of raining mist,

The sun has no warmth.

Immense, white,

More a halo

Than an orb,

It encircles

The opposite peak.

I sit,

Pulling up my legs,

Placing my head

In my hands,

A lost soul.


What is a poet,

After all,

But a writer of epithets.

A sometime prophet,

Or seer,

Finally, he is someone

Laying his brethren

To rest,

A peaceful communicant

In cowl and shroud,

Who walks beside a still water.


Under the spokes of the clematis,

He must lay himself down

To join them.

Always his companions,

Their whispering voices


Indistinct, one from another.


They foretell of a muting

Of the muse.  But,

I shall not lay nor listen today.

Even if my quill becomes

An arrow to the bone,

Ever the priest,

I commemorate you,

In turn,

With a final rite of words.


A red rose, a white rose:

One, the flower

Of your fervor

To be chosen,

To be seized up

By the embrace

That breeches paradise.

This was your soul in bloom,

Until it was refused.

The other, an emblem

Of the winter’s cold,

And those who sleep

Beneath the snow.

On their behalf,

I give it to you.

I would fold it into your body,

A memento of what never was,

What could never be

For the likes of you,

Or the likes of me.

My sister.


I am a God fearing man.

I join my brethren

In the common prayer:

“Have mercy on her soul.”

And now,

The letting go.


Started: 2008

Finished: July, 2011




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