At my father’s funeral, the men came
And of course they sat over there
On the other side of the room on the
dining chairs. A row of sombre Sunday suits.
Had he also been father to these once young men?
Managing the yard, making them work,
Earning their regard, knowing names and concerns
so well that a Sunday newspaper wrote a feature
The Modern Management of a Common Brickyard.
My son spoke to these men of stiff suits, stiff faces,
Old men of a country where he had never lived
He asked how they knew his grandfather?
And as he spoke they saw the
same thing I saw as his head tilted
his voice lilting with his grandfather grief
They saw the hair growing sideways off his temple
angling like the thin gray on the lonely coffined head
They saw the eye twinkle, the twist of mouth,
the lean of a head into listening.
Gestures they thought the coffin lid would close forever
they saw coming over and over again in a youth
whose thread of life chanced to hold the weave of my father.
A good line they said, respectful and quiet,
Then they told yard tales to my son, stiff grief gone,
bringing us all to laughter with lovely loving remembering.