Catherine Chandler's Poetry Blog

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Of Things Past

Catherine Chandler Oliveira and her father, Bernard F. Chandler, Sr.

Of Things Past

Briefly thyself remember . . .  
 - William Shakespeare, King Lear, Act 4, Scene 6

I.      99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

That summer when I couldn’t see
for grief – for who could guarantee
he’d ever walk again? – I’d sing
this song and pump my rusty swing,
till every bottle left the wall,
then start da capo (it was all
or nothing) in a voice, though small,
as if the magic chant might bring
my father walking back to me.

II.        Madeleine Moment

Ah, there’s Poughkeepsie. Nineteen fifty-four.
I skip along the Hudson. As the boats
go by, my father calls to me and quotes,
‘Still waters run deep’, as clearly as before
his polio; when, like this chewing-gum,
my life was one sweet, succulent cliché;
where, dauntless in the sun that could not stay,
he climbed the evergreen, I ate the plum.

© Catherine Chandler
"99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" first published in Able Muse, Summer 2009
"Madeleine Moment" first published as "Sapodilla" in Umbrella, Spring 2007
"Of Things Past" first published as a two-part poem in Lines of Flight, Able Muse Press, 2011


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