Ninety Names Prologue I wrote this in scribbles just after watching the scene described. It was November, 1995. I was in the central park of a medium-sized Canadian town, having just looked closely at a cenotaph.
Ninety Names Prologue I counted many matching family names, and it was a bit shocking. Then this happened.
Ninety Names A titan o'er the steps below, A statue, shaped and sagged by grief. Some names cast in a bronze tableau, Some ninety names in bas relief.
Ninety Names An autumn wind sweeps through the square, And wears across a solemn rhyme. It winds o'er words that, scriven here, Draw tears beyond the veil of time.
Ninety Names Her eyes gaze to the face above, (A sister, or perhaps a wife?) So old, she’s surely seen enough Of time to heal a haunted life.
Ninety Names Black cane, black coat, deep-furrowed brow, As frail as an unfallen leaf, So old, so sad, so long without Some lives alive in bas relief.
Ninety Names Her hair is fine and wispy-white, So clean, a scent of soap enwreaths. Her hair is drawn, so neat, so tight, Her face is drawn with memories.
Ninety Names Black cane engages every step, Black shadow passes painfully, Her hands now gently soothe the plaque, She places roses: one, two, three.
Ninety Names From Vimy Ridge, from Cambrai plain, From landscapes shaped and sagged by grief, Her men call out, alive again; A last recall from bas relief.
Ninety Names And, worn by age, I hear her voice -- A hoarse but heartfelt eulogy Upon the wind, "My lovely boys, Sleep now, my friends, eternally."
Ninety Names Though hushed by death, I feel the press of time. The weight of earth upon my rough-hewn pine.
Ninety Names And the blessing of a soul, and some dreams that might console The lonely life so stricken by my dying. /TKT