by Thomas Davis
Back in New Mexico the monsoon rains
had turned the desert green. Massed sunflowers blazed
with purple bee balm in the fields, the stain
of colors so intense there was a praise
of living in the vibrancy exploding
across a landscape barren, dry, the earth
so sterile that the thought of burgeoning
into a garden seemed a cause for mirth.
We walked in beauty like the Navajo
and thought about our son and how his eyes
would never look again into the glow
of fields of flowers, see the flight of butterflies.
The moment that that thought occurred to me,
I stopped. How can this be reality?
Note: This was written just days after our son’s death in Poughkeepsie, New York.
18 responses to “Sonnet 42”
beautiful, raw and heartbreaking…
This is very moving, as you describe the contrast so well, I can see the colours and brightness and feel the dark of the grief. While everything looks so beautiful, the loss is sinking in. The absurdness of the moment. Life is so cruel there.
Of course I love this one, as I do all the sonnets, all the telling of grief over the loss of Kevin. I am struck by a particular line–“there was a praise of living”. My, that is life-affirming–especially in the midst of such deep gnawing pain. And then, the ending line–“how can this be reality?” I remember on the day my dad died, my friend was driving me on the freeway–I couldn’t understand why the sky was so blue, the sun so bright, and all these cars were rushing to “somewhere”; why the world had not stopped, at least for a day… God bless you abundantly, wishing you a much-blessed Easter. love, Caddo
Of course since then you have seen him in these things… He seems to be all around (If I read your poetry and view your art well). Of course, that doesn’t lessen the pain… just gives it some meaning.
God bless both of you!
Steven, I’ve been thinking about this comment, and I’ve decided that you’re right. Ethel and I, when it is time to post something by Kevin, gather around the computer in my small, cluttered office, and then go back to those works of his we have and spend a few moments choosing one. This ritual helps us and is probably the reason fourwindowspress came into being. He is not here, of course. I can’t hear him talking over the phone every week, nor will he ever come to New Mexico again. But at least he left us traces of himself. Thank you for this comment.
Sadly it is , thank you for sharing!
i felt the bittersweet after taste before that last line… thank you for sharing, and may your son rest in peace
I like what Steven says about this and won’t try to put it in my own words. Just a beautiful, powerful sonnet once again, Thomas.
Sad but beautiful and uplifting – thanks Thomas.
Steven’s comment says such a lot really.
I often find traces of my mother in places where I did not expect her to be.
Thank you for sharing this with us
Another breathtaking sonnet that moves me to tears. This is beautiful. ~ Julie xox
I feel inadequate to comment on the sense of the abyss at the heart of this, but – side-stepping this – your description of the natural world is beautifully convincing. What a contrast between “the massed sunflowers” and “the earth so sterile”, and then that wry – rather black – humour at the implausibility of all this burgeoning. I think you had captured, in the external world, exactly that dreadful gulf that you must have been living through internally, and you put it in a way that the rest of us can recognise very readily. As the last line has it: “How can this be reality?”
Bless you for sharing your brokenheartedness of returning to New Mexico which would not be looked upon ever again by your dear son’s eyes (at least not in the flesh!). Remembering sharing the joys of nature in spring comes much later, doesn’t it?
Great sonnet. Great juxtaposition. I sorrow for your loss though. Best wishes.
..life can feel like a dream, sometimes I find life becomes too real and then it somehow lifts off into something surreal. I have savored this: there was a praise/of living in the vibrancy exploding/across a landscape barren
I am very familiar with the desert southwest, and the explosion of colors that hit after the monsoons. It is hard to imagine the desert can give up so much color. As long as you keep in your heart and thoughts, he will always be there to enjoy nature’s beauty with you.
I’m sorry for your loss.
Just lost a dear aunt suddenly over the weekend and my thoughts and emotions have been traveling into the same territory as…
‘…how his eyes
would never look again into the glow
of fields of flowers, see the flight of butterflies.’
It really does make one question what reality is.