(Elizabeth was buried on the hill that overlooks
The bend that launches the Long Reach of the
Ohio River. Folks are buried there as if they are
Just gazing downriver, the grey ribbon of water,
Low steep hills, the verdant trees that turn
So bleak and haunted in the wintertime.
She died while pregnant at sixteen.
The doctors said they might rescue the mom
But not the babe. My grandmother refused the
Operation, said they both should live. Both died.
In years to come grandma would disappear
Then found prostrated on her daughter’s grave.
Upon her own death, she insisted burial
Such that she looked uphill, so her first sight
The moment that the Resurrection came
Would be Elizabeth’s face.
That’s mostly over for us now, but it had a good
Long run, belief in Resurrection. As I go through
My days, I wonder whether grandmother knew
Something that I don’t.
And Socrates on the day
Of his death conversed
With his friends
About sophrosyne . . .
Moderation and self-control.
He spoke with
Of essential virtue, suspension of
Earthly desires, total excellence.
Socrates said, Our soul is the
Charioteer of two horses
A wild and a docile one;
One needs love, one freedom.
Socrates on the day
Of his death said:
Do not confuse desire and
Goodness and the will to be good
Do not complain or lament but
Strive to be prepared
A bien morir.