Rolling in a Barrel

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I attended a funeral yesterday; always a sobering experience. I was surprised to hear from several friends who attended that it was the first they had ever been to. Having been to many in my life, I can say that each one brings to mind every other. These moments punch out holes in the illusory wrapping of life, leaving neat, round peepholes through which truth can be viewed and never forgotten.

This morning I was going through an old notebook and found a poem that I wrote a couple of years ago on hearing the tragic passing of a friend. He was a bright and dynamic man who lived a life of devotion and adventure. When I heard the news, I first thought of his wife, my dear friend.

With one phone call,
she is pitted.
Laid on a wooden board and split,
seeds and flesh;
a heart removed.
And who can say why;
in heady youth, we beg life to season us,
nodding and bowing with what we think is ripened wisdom,
not knowing that for which we ask:
the crushing,
the grinding,
the slow spreading bruises,
only lie ahead –
can arrive all together on sunny Wednesday mornings
when all seems unshakeable.
The short, sharp shock
is always that.
A red flag on the horizon,
with a message that this world is serious,
a place for hearts to transform,
a place for cutting rot from core.
Yet inbetween, so much beauty;
in the sunlight on the wall;
the fountains that play in city squares;
the heartfelt songs of thousands of mothers;
the lock of one eye with another.
But don’t expect that it won’t hurt,
this delicate thing called life –
like rolling in a barrel down a mountain.


  1. thank you!

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