Is there praise to be sung
for the quiet hours he let anger pass
alone, unspeaking, for what he managed
not to break or curse, for the long walk north
famous in family lore
for each step, for what he carried into wilderness,
into cold distance, into his pale-skied absence?
Suppose one could share his story, and offer
some telling detail, so free to imagine
tall pine each side of the old logging roads
he travelled; places he stopped along the way,
creatures that watched him from the woods,
his long, long walk,
narrow heaven above.
What he came upon at last was
his history unknown and none to presume
fill his silence with what they thought they knew,
a place where he would neither be reminded
nor asked to forget the sweet face that became his grief.
He might finally have disappeared there completely
when we gave his name to our son.