Friday, May 16, 2014

Fathers and Sons

I have a good friend named Kim Krummeck. He's an attorney who works on behalf of neglected service veterans and benefits-denied workers. His father died recently and, because Kim liked a poem that I wrote long ago but read a decade back at my own dad's military interment, he asked me to read something at his father's event--which would be a combination of low-key ceremony and Navy "wetting" wake.

The request resonated, I guess. Mortality has been on my mind for a while now.

My father, Ed Senior, was a quiet and generous old-style Midwest conservative who got caught up in WWII and Korea, and so made a best-of-a-bad-deal career out of it. Dad and I got along fairly well even though we disagreed mightily on Vietnam; he really only got angry with me when I mouthed-off too much to my more rabidly right-wing Mom.

But relations between fathers and sons have been troubled since Abraham and Oedipus, D.H. Lawrence and James Joyce. Kim and his father had some rocky times, I believe, but eventually arrived at their own version of d├ętente. I couldn't decide who or what might be appropriate to read; but since I never knew Kim's dad any more than cursorily, I knew that the sort of poem I wrote for my father was too personally limited, with a level of specific detail I could not discover or invent for Kim's own complex situation. I also ruled out reading some famous elegy conveying other responsibilities, other mores, other times.

Instead I wrote a new piece, brief and insignificant in any grand scheme of things, but which still attempts verbally to be both light and heavy, metaphoric yet
mysterious, linking family matters, sub-atomic matter, and a dash of the "dark matter" of the infinite Universe as well. If that sounds foolishly pretentious, so be it, I plead guilty. I'd just add that some possibly pertinent wordplay lurks in this "Krummeck Sonetta" too:


Sonetta for Ken Krummeck

Particles, burning, rise...
eclipsing their old orbits,
forestalling all the days
a family's grief forgets.

Charred constellations fall
through night's starfields of light;
apparent strength turns frail:
the universal fate.

We breathe, we speak some word,
each sentence ends in death;
a burnished soul remembered
will walk the ancient path.

Dawns break, and spent suns cool;
love, hard-earned, makes one whole.


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This piece is published post #302 at the blog labeled I Witness. I'm mulling over options and pondering the future; you'll know more, reader, when I do.