Jul. 12

In memoriam . . .

4

Imogene

We lost our Aunt Imogene this past spring.  In the photo I am standing between her and my brother Daryl Mitchell, whom we lost many, many years ago.  Imogene was one of a kind.  This is the poem I wrote for her funeral:

 

A one-name dame, no middle one

           ever needed

                  She is in angel hours now

Count the words she spoke

                        she heard

                        she read

                        she dreamed

     The spaces between words,

            the moments of silence

She looked back through her life in that final sleep

     Each birthday        Each  husband

     Each trip               Each glazed ceramic

     Each pan of cornbread        Each pitcher of sweet tea

She could have graced the pages of any fashion magazine

     This skinny, freckled little girl born in the back woods of Panola County

     This teenager who mailed letters to Hollywod for photographs of the stars

That slim, elegant figure

Those long, long legs

The family nose

Her daddy's sharp Choctaw cheekbones

Her mother's sky-blue eyes

That high, twinkling laugh

A passage of bright lipstick on her lips

Cigarette smoke haloing her well-coifed head

     Always dressed to the nines

But no matter how cosmopolitan she considered herself

     That East Texas twang honeyed every syllable of her speech

Persnickety and poised, pale as a moonbeam

             Perfect in her imperfection

The keeper of our family history

     A treasurer of family keepsakes

Descendentless, but loved by nieces and nephews

           The poet was right:  April is the cruelist month

           The month to bury our dead in the cold ground

           While the warm promise of spring assails our senses

     A commotion of wings in the sterile room

            A gentle tug at her long-fingered hand

                            She rises

     Looking back over her shoulder at her long life

     But you can't go home, can't step in the same creek twice

Honey Dog and Zsa-Zsa and all her beloved pets run to meet her

     As she crosses to the other side

               Remember:  No turning back, no turning back

Will she write letters in heaven?

     Piling them in heaps of the finest paper etched with ink of gold

Will she stop worrying about the middle brother who is now close at hand?

      And  love her other brothers even more from afar?

          Is it even possible to love more than she did on earth?

     Do not weep, do not be sad

        The loblolly pine still scents the sweet air

            The wood wren still breakes the silence of the day

                                     She lives in angel hours now.

4 Comments

Patty

1 year, 2 months ago

That is so beautiful. She may have been the keeper of family history, but Donna you are the keeper of the sweet family imagery that "So much depends upon."
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Listening to the whispering pines

Hello. My name is Donna Cozart Pauley. Welcome to The Whispering Pines, a literary blog dedicated to my love of the written word. It is an eclectic collage of my life -- from my poems to my stories to my family to my pets to my causes to my photographs to my recipes to my love of teaching to my favorite literature. Please feel free to comment. Words are only important if they are heard or read. Just like those soundless trees falling in the forest.

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