Peace Be Unto Her by Myra Marini

Surrounded by friends and curious strangers,
her sons and daughters kissed,
as they never kissed in life,
the cold forehead of the image—

the irrelevant image,
with small hands curled upon
the mother-bosom, hands
once vehement in life;

banked with flowers—the smell
of the death of roses—
six cars of flowers
(she loved plants that grew).

Tall sons and vivid daughters,
pale now, white-mouthed;
and those not born of her
who called her mother

and bore her grandchildren
or begot them, knelt, rose,
knelt to the ritual—
(the priests were fat, and one

showed a length of trouser,
the lace skirt puckered)—
rose, knelt; but the old man
sat unmoving, stubborn in grief.

With all the mummery of
swinging censer—the priest
chanting beautifully, but
mumbling the muttered prayers,

slighting the words—the song
Rock of Ages broke the bands
of grief.  Oh, why
bury with ironies her

who laughed at inconsistencies
who lived honestly,
who loved—(reservations to her
were traitorous, she never

knew them)—why carry in pomp
to the closed niche
her body, shorn
of all its clarity?

(The driver of one car
said to the driver of the hearse,
“How old was this stiff, anyway?”)

Pray for the soul of
Concetta Marini,
Loved on Earth.

From: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/browse/43/2#!/20579233/0

Date: 1933

By: Myra Marini (?-?)

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