In Memory of David Kubal
Your kind of night, David, your kind of night.
The dog would eye you as you closed your book;
Such a long chapter, such a time it took
The great leaps! The high cries! The leash like a line drive!
The two of you would rove the perfumed street,
Pillar to post, and terribly alive.
Your kind of night, nothing more, nothing less;
A single lighted window, the shade drawn,
Your shadow enormous on the silver lawn,
The busy mockingbird, his rapturous fit,
The cricket keeping time, the loneliness
Of the man in the moon - and the man under it.
The word elsewhere was always on your lips,
A password to some secret, inner place
Where Wisdome smiled in Beautie’s looking-glass
And Pleasure was at home to dearest Honour.
(The dog-eared pages mourn your fingertips,
And vehicle whispers, Yet once more, to tenor.)
Now you are elsewhere, elsewhere comes to this,
The thoughtless body, like a windblown rose,
Is gathered up and ushered toward repose.
To have to know this is our true condition,
The Horn of Nothing, the classical abyss,
The only cry a cry of recognition.
The priest wore purple; now the night does, too.
A dog barks, and another, and another.
There are a hundred words for the word brother.
We use them when we love, when we are sick,
And in our dreams when we are somehow you.
What are we if not wholly Catholic?
Some of the most beautiful poetry, sadly, seems to come as a defense or a summation of a friend who has died. Perhaps the best epitaph. This is another where the rhyme scheme creeps up on you, and as usual, the language is vivid and economical. I used the first line of the last stanza in the cento. Isn’t that a beautiful line?