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The Hillock and the Holly, a meditation on Richard Farina | Poem


The Hillock and the Holly

Ahhhh, the songs that got
Snagged in our hair and
Never quite combed out.
I hear some of them every
Day as I walk down under the
Trees where Richard must have
Hummed to himself, putting
Together the frame that still
Holds our rank of mailboxes, walk
Down on my feet toward the Pacific
And in my head toward Tannery Brook,
Remembering with startling regularity
The shock, the unthinkable loss of
Voice from the duet of two rabbling
Rivers running through the heart's
Mosses and boulders. Asked to
Shore up his long-ago did-it-right-
The-first-time job after the ground
Moved beneath it, the task
Took a year or so of nerving up.
So the rains came again, the sands
And pebbles rolled back from some
Hidden pocket of melodies half sung;
The hand extended to judge necessity
Met only solidity, fell away as though
Comforted by one of those hello or
Farewell pats that leave one
Gape-minded at being understood.

All in all, 
It's a pity that nowadays
One can't be caught with
Thread and berry in Carmel,
Unless, of course, one professes
To be on the verge of preparing
Trout incarnidine with capers
And macaquery grotesque.

But here on the knoll, there's a
Dulcimer on the wall (who knows why:
I've never asked). I'll take it down
One day soon, and the first song,
The one I've lived by, will be for him,
And you, and Willy, and her, and them, 
And us, in these days of unreeling
Time and all the unforgotten tears.

There are only a few I've really missed:
I had a cathedral to stop by for John
And it almost sufficed, until Robert,
Until Steve, until Martin.
I had a library to bury myself in
For Marilyn: somehow it didn't work and
She wove herself into the fabric of
Reaching, just as Nanda Devi did.
Given the heights I will never scale,
There is a great peace
In meandering down for the mail every day,
Collecting those amazing fragments of far
Lives brought near, and stealing a moment
To lay my hand on Richard's: I think I am
Promising him a song.

In pace, in pace....

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