April is the busiest month - Taylor Daynes

In addition to being the month of Holy Week and Easter, April is also National Poetry Month. With that in mind, I wanted to share a poem by Audre Lorde, “Father Son and Holy Ghost.” It is a slow, heavy poem—alternately hazy and clear, like the father’s memory. The imagery and language have a ceremonial quality that reminds me of how deeply entwined are our personal experiences of loss with the corporeal loss we remember during this season.

Here it is in full (courtesy of poetryfoundation.org):

Father Son and Holy Ghost
by Audre Lorde

I have not ever seen my father’s grave.

Not that his judgment eyes
have been forgotten
nor his great hands’ print
on our evening doorknobs
            one half turn each night
            and he would come
            drabbled with the world’s business
            massive and silent
            as the whole day’s wish
            ready to redefine
            each of our shapes
but now the evening doorknobs
wait    and do not recognize us
as we pass.

Each week a different woman
regular as his one quick glass
each evening
pulls up the grass his stillness grows
calling it weed.
Each week    a different woman
has my mother’s face
and he
who time has    changeless
must be amazed
who knew and loved
but one.

My father died in silence
loving creation
and well-defined response
he lived    still judgments
on familiar things
and died    knowing
a January 15th that year me.

Lest I go into dust
I have not ever seen my father’s grave.