For The End Times ~ Robin Chapman



What heals, what carries us through?

Music for the closing of eyes, to carry us

through the dark; and the rise and fall

of remembered words, and companions

on the way, and dreams:  I’ve watched

the emergency crews bear stretchers

out of the house past the children at play

on the doorsteps, shouldered the draped

bodies with my childhood friend, shroud

and box, crypt and fire; armfuls of lilacs

or ashes scattered to lake and woods.

Memory of how each lifted an eyebrow

or laughed or some characteristic shrug

or walk or tilt of head that each would make;

but their songs, the ones that only they

could sing—their songs are done, unless

we learned their tunes: words are not enough.