classic inspiration

on 03-31-2012

 

Prohibition was the catalyst for lots of high-intensity action here  on the North Fork of Long Island, not the least of which was the “Rum War” between the U.S. Coast Guard and Run Runners that jump-started my father-in-law’s arrival.

 

His very pregnant mother, shaken by this gunfire on Long Island Sound, was driven straight to the hospital in a 1920s Chrysler coupe, where David Barnabas Horton was born on this very day in 1932.

 

I could write a lifetime’s worth of Dave Horton-inspired posts, and probably a lifetime more about the spectrum of things losing him to cancer two years ago has made me mourn, contemplate and appreciate.

 

I wrote “the undertaker’s garden” for Dave {long-time undertaker and life-long, avid gardener} and was grateful to read the poem to him several times during some dark winter days.

 

Recently, our friend Patrick Digby, an Austrian composer and physician, used “the undertaker’s garden”  to inspire “Hello World,” a powerful song of hope.  You can experience his original composition for piano and orchestra here. 

 

Cheers to listening closely for and celebrating the inspiration that grows around us all.

 

the undertaker’s garden

for David B. Horton

 

There’s a noise my shovel makes

when it cracks the earth open —

a muted thud as crust surface splits

to reveal what’s beneath.

 

Sometimes that sound

echoes around the person before me.

I hear the familiar metallic chink

as muddy feelings like

guilt and loss

and fear seep out.

 

Then, a silent pause

as that someone waits for me to say

I’ve seen it all before and yes,

this gap will fill up so

something new can grow there.

 

Truth is, I am not a tour guide.

I’m a witness.

 

I think grief is something like summer.

It begins at an exact moment

and expands into a season whether or not

we’re paying attention.

 

I’ve watched radishes cloak irresistible bitterness

in unapologetic red.

I’ve seen my tears inspire a pumpkin.

 

I’ve allowed an earthen backbeat

to ask and ask and ask

how many more times my shovel will have to dig in

until this hole is big enough

to hold everything we need it to.

 

How long now ’til

I’m in the shade of my fearless sunflowers,

rubbing a buttery soft lettuce leaf between

my thumb and forefinger,

eyes up, heart open – –

ready to turn it over again?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the undertaker’s garden

for David B. Horton

 

There’s a noise my shovel makes

when it cracks the earth open —

a muted thud as crust surface splits

to reveal what’s beneath.

 

Sometimes that sound

echoes around the person before me.

I hear the familiar metallic chink

as muddy feelings like

guilt and loss

and fear seep out.

 

Then, a silent pause

as that someone waits for me to say

I’ve seen it all before and yes,

this gap will fill up so

something new can grow there.

 

Truth is, I am not a tour guide.

I’m a witness.

 

I think grief is something like summer.

It begins at an exact moment

and expands into a season whether or not

we’re paying attention.

 

I’ve watched radishes cloak irresistible bitterness

in unapologetic red.

I’ve seen my tears inspire a pumpkin.

 

I’ve allowed an earthen backbeat

to ask and ask and ask

how many more times my shovel will have to dig in

until this hole is big enough

to hold everything we need it to.

 

How long now ’til

I’m in the shade of my fearless sunflowers,

rubbing a buttery soft lettuce leaf between

my thumb and forefinger,

eyes up, heart open – –

ready to turn it over again?

Yvonne Melania Lieblein

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