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David Anthony

rm-bead24: Ro Miller Bio


Is This the Proper Way?
(in memory of M M)

I knew you well and thought you were a friend,
and yet you gave no sign you meant to go.
Is this the proper way for it to end?

The hardest thing for me to comprehend
was why you failed to say goodbye, although
I knew you well and thought you were a friend,

and never doubted that I could depend
on you. To my regret it was not so.
Is this the proper way—for it to end

so brusquely? I had always meant to spend
more time with you. It was a bitter blow
from one I knew, and thought of as a friend.

I would have stood beside you to defend
against the fear, though all I really know
is this: the proper way for it to end

is not the way the passing-bells pretend
that ring with falsehood, sonorous and slow.
There was no proper way for it to end
for you, who left me, though you were a friend.

To Gerard Manley Hopkins

Your spirit hovered quivering poised on air
of sense and sound, charged like a lightning rod:
now flashing out to seize the grace of God,
now plunging down in darkness and despair.
Despair! Did wisdom really bring you there,
where tired generations trod and trod,
where feet have lost all feeling, being shod,
where hopelessness hangs heavy everywhere?

Sometimes I wonder, did you understand
without the dark your candle could not glow?
Your soul was tortured by self-reprimand,
self-crucified, self-loathing; yet I know
the God you loved and hated took your hand
at last, and led you safe where no storms blow.

Water Bearer

Each dawn before the sun devoured the shade
and seared the arid land, a potter strode
down to the well along a dusty road
to fill a well-used water jar he'd made.

As he returned one day a stranger said,
"Your jar is fractured. Anyone can see
you waste your time and labour fruitlessly.
The water spills along the track you tread."

The potter answered, "Though it leaks it still
retains enough for me and I would not,
for all its flaws, discard my battered pot.
It has a special purpose to fulfil."

Where he had passed a radiant display
of flowers grew to greet the breaking day.

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