Monday, June 9, 2008

Poetry of Timothy J. Nolan

The Dreams of the Old

So they are around our table—my mother,
my father, an uncle—and we begin to talk
about our dreams—with some urgency—
as if our dreams could pinpoint our psychic
dangers—our unrealized goals—our
ordinary fear of death and the future.
My mother talks about her dreams of flying
over the little town where she grew up—
over the old Opera House—down Main Street—
with all the people she knew below her—
then towards the gently flowing river—
that seemed to flow into the sunset—
toward which she soared—she lingered
with us on that image—as if she had said
enough—then—my uncle talked about
his recurring dream—he's going to be
in a play—but no one's bothered
to rehearse the scenes—he's standing
in the wings waiting to go on—he doesn't
know what he will say—all through this
my father is silent—he is closest to death—
we all know this—we forgive him his silence—
his silence—has his presence—as in a dream.

The Eulogy

He could be funny, but only in small groups
of meek women—which is to say—he was not
very funny. He had beautiful and expressive
hands which he normally kept in his pockets.
When he was roused to passion, as he seldom was,
it would usually go unnoticed. He did have
strong feelings for animals—his family crest included
the loon—that symbol of fidelity and lonely song.
He was quite a mimic—I personally remember
how he could sound just like Bobby Kennedy—underwater—
if he was drunk enough. I suppose you all remember
his obsession with orchids—it was strange at the end—
his fretting over their blossoming—when would it happen?
Then, his disappointment when they would fade and drop.
He was a collector of sales receipts—some of you
may not know this—he would ask you to empty
your pockets to show him where you’d been, what you bought.
At his confirmation on June 4, 1954, he chose a verse
from the Old Testament, The Book of Haggai—“He that
earneth wages earneth wages to put in a bag with a hole.
Consider your ways, sayeth the Lord.” Let us consider
him . . . as we head downstairs. There must be other stories.

BIFOCAL dec 2006


sharryb said...

Hi Judith,
I now have you on the new blogger gizmo that puts a bit of your post in my sidebar. Now I'll probably never miss a post! Hurrah.

Maggie said...

Oh lovely. Imagine the gift of being able to think like that.

Eric Valentine said...

An absolutely beautiful read.. So simple.. so touching..thank you for sharing.. :)