My dad had amazing eyes. They were basically
light blue in color, although set up against
a certain sweater or in certain light they
could look green also.
When he died in 1996, I chose blue granite
for his headstone that was similar to his
eye color. I designed pretty much all aspects
of the monument myself. This was weeks after
I got back to Spokane. I sent faxes of my
detailed drawings and notes back to the funeral
home in Indianapolis that had attended my dad,
— they were good enough to act as liaison with
the monument company even though technically
speaking their job was over. And so the stone
was made and put on the grave. One of my dad's
friends took pictures of it and sent them back
to me so that I could see the finished work.
When I went back for my dad's funeral I found
a bunch of little notes and papers on the kitchen
table. My dad had always tended to use the table
as a kind of desk for his latest business. One
little piece of paper I picked up bore the simple
phrase "To know that love is, is all there is to
know." I didn't know it at the time, but the
line is from a poem by Emily Dickinson.
The line reminded me of a passage from another
poem, one by Ezra Pound, Canto 81.
What thou lovest well remains, the rest is dross
What thou lovest well shall not be reft from thee
What thou lovest well is thy true heritage
My dad and me, Indianapolis, 1987.
WAKING YOU UP
this time, when you awake
when they grab you by the shoulder
and shake you
when you mumble a bit, and jerk
and close your eyes again
this time, when they call your name
and you grumble some syllable
and they give you another shake
when your crystal eyes are at last open
when you are finally wide awake
this time, your day will last forever
your bed will always be made
and you need never close your eyes again
except, if you will, to remember us
we who still sleep and wake
— Edward Piercy, Jr.