Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The Memory of You, 1976

It is from an earlier chapter
written decades ago, a page
penned before Jimmy Carter and Nixon’s ghost
briefly took the stage.

It was all real, not an idle diversion
or sabbatical from the courses I’d run.
No, young nymph, you were my dear,
and I trust you knew my love

was palm to palm and always near
wherever we took our sport:
the Quarter, the lake, some dark tavern
or theater in which our fingers were laced and lapped,

if you catch my drift.
You always knew my inner gears,
the turning of unspoken words,
some fleeting thought not yet formed by lips

otherwise engaged in moist red dances
or afternoon gin and tonic sips.
And I knew your eddies and currents as well.
Not everyone can cast such a synchronistic spell.

We could have talked in pidgin for hours
and always known the warp and woof,
known what was yours and mine,
but mostly ours.

I wrote a much longer poem,
a message in a bottle
with all the whys and wherefores
on a parchment in palimpsest,

a metaphysical conceit
that unlocked all locked doors,
but what purpose would be served?
Since you could not wait for time and tide forever,

it is fitting that all righteousness should be observed.
I occasionally sit in an abbey nave,
quite alone these days, counting saints.
St. Peter says my eye to you should not now roam.

St. Jude whispers that you, with grace,
have found a shining hearth and home.
I am glad, and tell him so,
for I could wish no less

than spinning wheels and looms
for one whose tapestry was so rich
and held the promise of gold
in each and every stitch.

My lost horizon will always have a bookmark
to hold the page, the months that passed that year,
but your couplet deserved a fitting rhyme
when my meter stumbled and lost its cadence for a time.

Just know this, my ever-cherished love and friend:
you were indeed a rainbow coming around the bend
in my once upon a time. No less.
No less.

~William Hammett

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