Poetry Journal

Issues / Volume 5 Issue 2 , November 2015


What to say?

BN Oakman

  Celebrants often ask the bereaved
  to speak to a coffin 
  as if the dead might hear them still. 
  I’ve heard protestations, 
  excuses, wishes things 
  had been different, 
  the odd imprecation, 
  assorted verse, declarations 
  of unending remembering, never 
  accusation or condemnation.                        
  And what might I say to you 
  when you no longer hear 
  my voice? Might I 
  intrude so much as a word 
  somehow withheld 
  over thirty years and not 
  proclaim my indolence, not 
  corrupt my tears with neglect, 
  not betray the perfect poem 
  of our silence?