Bigger Than the Sky If A Star Was Your Eye, by pd lyons


one day my daughter at the age of 7 asks me “What happens when you die Dad? what really happens?” and  so this poem comes from that question.

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Bigger Than the Sky If A Star Was Your Eye

Without sadness there can be no kindness.
Depression while it may be unkind
Is not a kind of sadness.

Someday children will know:
Daddies don’t know everything
Daddies aren’t always there
Daddies cannot protect omnipotent in any way
On top of that neither can mommy.
Not even if we are turned into gods.

Allowing our children to turn us into gods
Should be every parents concern.

I have lived in houses of the dead.
Those who died before my age,
Those who lived to be a hundred a hundred years ago.
Someday these stairs I sweep will still be here
And I will not be anywhere.
Someday all those I ever knew and who knew me,
No matter how intimately; will be no more.
Not even forgotten because there will be none
Who ever even knew them or us or me.

My daughter age 7 asks “What happens when you die daddy?”
“What really happens after you die dad?”

Am I afraid of death?
Afraid of not being me anymore?
Am I afraid of life?
Afraid of not knowing answers?
Growing old?
Forgetting?

My own mommy.  My own Daddy. Grandma Grandpa Aunts & uncles.
How they looked where they died – hospitals wakes funerals
What they taught me?

Names of dogs, my first cat,
Cards, poker, slap-jack, war, set-back, cribbage, 31, solitaire, rummy.
Smoking: corn silk, Pall Malls, Kents, Old Gold, lLucky Strike, Viceroy Marlboro, Mores.
TV: channel 8, ABC, Superman, Twilight Zone, Avengers, Popeye, Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers, Rifleman, Sugarfoot , Captain Kangaroo ( how to tie my shoes), Bunny- rabbit, Mr. Moose, Tom Terrific, Sonny Fox, Sandy Becker, Ranger Andy, Outer Limits, Bugs what’s up doc Bunny
( all I know about classical music) and oh that mighty mighty Mighty Mouse and the farmer and the mice (made before sound all action to a can-can score), Zorro, Robin Hood, Paladin, Sea-view, Sea Hunt, Flipper, Twenty Mule Team Death Valley Days.
Stateline potato chips, Mr salty pretzels, Oreos, drake’s cakes, Cracker Jack, sandwiches, deli grinders, first sip sting- my- nose Knickerbocker Beer, hires real root beer, diamond ginger ale, real mayonnaise, sour pickles, Pepsi-cola, cream off the top of the milk bottle.
Big giant glittering maniacal magical Christmas, and the baby, baby Jesus in his little wooden manger. Easter bunnies, Easter baskets, vinegary coloured eggs. Halloween, store bought costumes, pillow cases full of trick or treating treats.
Songs my mother whistled in the garden, all the flowers she taught me names of, the birds she always fed, the pets she always had Nietzsche, Fritz, Simon, Suki, , Dulcinea, Heidi, Beau, Nietzsche II, Terry, Frisky, Penny, Mamma Kitty, Tuffy, Tasha.
My father’s chess set, going fishing, making models together: black bear & cub, USS Missouri “big mo”, making us sawn and sanded swords at his work bench, heavy iron wrenches, hammers I could hardly lift, picks that weighed more than I did.
Cub Scouts, baseball, sledding on the golf course, going up the bank, down the rock fort, up the rez, taste of snow, scent of autumn bright sun on brown leaves orange & yellow & up to your knees holding hands with mom walking down peach orchard hill to glimpse a sight of JFK waving as he went by on his way to Hartford.
Roger Maris as a rookie my first time at the major league his first Yankee game, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford and oh yeah Yogi Berea! Summer vacations, going to the ocean – 5 kids all are we there yet packed into the Chevy station wagon when Connecticut to Maine really took forever…

My daughter loves the sea
We don’t live near it
Sometimes get to visit
Dancing in and out the surf
Up and down the Dogs Bay regardless of the weather.

My son now in his thirties
hardly ever leaves his house
the one he bought from my father’s estate
The house me and the siblings grew up in
Same ones I argued with so he could live there
Like his grandpa said.

And maybe it’s no so bad to forget?
be free of history
be new
make space for right now
stop so much looking back.

And maybe it can be that way with death?
not so bad,
letting go of all this me?
making space for something new?

But I’ve a strong ego
Tuff as nails
A Buddha’s nightmare
Veteran of all kinda wars.

Maybe that’s the equation:
stronger the ego – stronger the fear?

I am not the god of my children
I’m too old to fool them with immortality
Anyway they’re too smart to not perceive
My purely human heart.

Love is not an answer.
Love is a response to all those unanswerable questions.

Not knowing anything
I love.
The more answers I don’t have?
The more I feel my own true love.

~ I don’t know what really happens when we die
But I do know how much I love you ~

 

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20 Jan 09 for Morgan Macha

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