THE BOAT PAINTED GREEN

Friday, January 06, 2006
For my father, as he loses his memory

We go down to the boat,
through the screen of leaves gathered
where they gather to feed.
The oars
lean on a post.

And I am glad to know you

As one knows an author one has read,
a formal pleasure—

You always had a way with sunfish.
And now, after years of higher education, I’ve become
you. Perhaps some different name,

“Basil” or “Kingsley”

will join me upstream.
Away from the unpleasantness.
I’d like to get away from automobiles,
in particular, the reckless joy
of driving them.
For like you, I love cars.
Always have.

And bats, come to think of it,
though I’ve never understood them.
Can’t stand them, in fact.
Their unkempt flight
more like a kind of falling

Over and over.
But enough about me.

Do you like these hands?
They have a certain “potential,”
don’t you think? Thus,
I avoid manual labor,
confine myself to talk
about the mind, mostly. And speculation
on the mind’s fate.

For, as originally promised, the Fates came
and changed things, some say for the better.
And some things stay the same,—
like the terrifying names of archaic undergarments,
our words remain
interesting
chiefly to scholars
for the separation they express between life and
the account of life.

But we are in both.

In full-length sunlight
we wait like bulbs
for a determined spring. The dark
cool light like air precedes
our serial advance.
Were it permitted, we’d wander
endlessly, amazed.

3 comments:

truepeers said...

Jamie, I particularly like that last stanza. But I wander scratching my head for the terrifying names of archaic undergarments.

terrye said...

How sad.

They are the same people, just lost.

David Thomson said...

My mother is also slowly losing her mind. She is 86 years old. People rarely lived that long only a few generations ago. An increasing number of Alzheimer's cases is an unfortunately inevitability.