Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Personal Effects

With grateful thanks to Garrison Keillor and The Writer's Almanac for this wonderful poem by Raymond Burns.

Personal Effects
by Raymond Burns
The lawyer told him to write a letter
to accompany the will, to prevent
potential discord over artifacts
valued only for their sentiment.
His wife treasures a watercolor by
her father; grandmama's spoon stirs
their oatmeal every morning. Some
days, he wears his father's favorite tie.
He tries to think of things that
could be tokens of his days:
binoculars that transport
bluebirds through his cataracts
a frayed fishing vest with
pockets full of feathers brightly
tied, the little fly rod he can still
manipulate in forest thickets,
a sharp-tined garden fork,
heft and handle fit for him,
a springy spruce kayak paddle,
a retired leather satchel.
He writes his awkward note,
trying to dispense with grace
some well-worn clutter easily
discarded in another generation.
But what he wishes to bequeath
are items never owned: a Chopin
etude wafting from his wife's piano
on the scent of morning coffee
seedling peas poking into April,
monarch caterpillars infesting
milkweed leaves, a light brown
doe alert in purple asters
a full moon rising in October,
hunting-hat orange in ebony sky,
sunlit autumn afternoons that flutter
through the heart like falling leaves.

3 comments:

Annette said...

That's a lovely poem.
Do you know Marie Ponsot's poem "As Is", from her "Springing" collection? It's here:
http://www.divasofverse.com/2014/09/as-is-by-marie-ponsot.html

Btw, it's Raymond Byrnes, not Burns - I tried to look him up and couldn't find anythng, so I finally went to the Almanach site.

Speranza said...

Absolutely beautiful - thank you so much for this!

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