This is Poem #25 in my series of poem-a-day responses to the Big Questions to mark National Poetry Month (NaPoMo, April 2013. Can we be any bigger or better than those who came before us? Why is this necessary to find life significant and meaningful? How big can we become?
RECHERCHE DU TEMPS PERDU
The space cleared/is bigger than they were/...as the maker of the snow angel/ once they get up from the ground.---From “Personal Space” by Hannah Stephenson, The Storialist
I thought it was the other way around:When one is no longer there, he will be
bigger than the space he occupied. I
cannot begin to gather the memories
grown rampant of those I have loved
and lost, they will fill my days to the brim.
How can I run with my father throughthose fields with a wayward kite? How
can I sing those goodbye songs in my
abuela’s tremulous voice? Will I keep
in tempo with grandfather’s steps when
I find myself walking up the winding
stairwells, my little palms in his hands?
Will I tell those tales of enchantedelves and flirting fairies as animatedly
as grandmother Teodora, and hold
my own grandchildren in thrall? How
large a space must I have to grow with
them while I keep this quiet watch over
the rhythm of days as we bravely wait?
I will not be able to fill these spaces youhave carved yourselves when you were
here---they overwhelm me with grandeur.
How will I cope with the largeness of your
presence now that you have gone from us?
Like the lad who threw himself on the snowto create his winged likeness, I find my
snow angel larger than I am achingly small
engulfed by lingering memories of your
abiding love and immeasurable greatness.
---ALBERT B. CASUGA