For Morris

97 percent of a century
and an equal percent pure.
97 years old
97 years young
97 years thin
and tall so tall.

This man,
This tough string,
This class of ‘33 Yalie
Rotsee’d himself just to ride the horses
he loved.
Clip-clop, clip-clop.

Pulled willy-nilly, like the world, into war:
Dubya Dubya Two,
This lanky port engineer
Saw such action as Boston afforded.
Then, later, Korea.
This man, too gentle-hearted for the body bags
Of death piled so high, by the hundreds.
This resilient gristle of a man too decent not to be overwhelmed.

This music-lover
Selling tuxes to dapper musicians
Dancing to their music
Clip-clop, be-bop, da-da, da-dum

God said:
“Morris, people should not be wearing body bags.
I mean for people to wear fancy duds –
Threads with life in ‘em.”
This slim haberdasher – he served his God.
97 percent of the time, or thereabouts,
He served his God.

Gainesville, 2008.06.12
* * * * * * *
I was ministering to the UU Church of Tarpon Springs, FL. The congregation's president at that time was Kathy Stevens. Her father, Morris Moldawan, died on Jun 12 at age 97. When I heard the news, I called Kathy to offer my condolences. We spoke for some time, and she described for me her father's life in such a way that I was able to write this poem.

No comments:

Post a Comment