He Posits Certain Mysteries

By Thomas P. Lynch b. 1948
The body of the boy who took his flight
off the cliff at Kilcloher into the sea
was hauled up by curragh-men, out at first light
fishing mackerel in the estuary.
“No requiem or rosary” said the priest,
“nor consecrated ground for burial,”
as if the boy had flown outside the pale
of mercy or redemption or God’s love.  
“Forgive them, for they know not what they do,”
quoth Argyle to the corpse’s people,
who heard in what he said a sort of riddle,
as if he meant their coreligionists
and not their sodden, sadly broken boy.
Either way, they took some comfort in it
and readied better than accustomed fare
of food and spirits; by their own reckoning:
the greater sin, the greater so the toll.
But Argyle refused their shilling coin
and helped them build a box and dig a grave.
“Your boy’s no profligate or prodigal,”
he said, “only a wounded pilgrim like us all.
What say his leaping was a leap of faith,
into his father’s beckoning embrace?”
They killed no fatted calf.  They filled the hole.

Source: Poetry (February 2011).

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This poem originally appeared in the February 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

February 2011
 Thomas P. Lynch

Biography

Essayist, poet, and funeral director Thomas Lynch has written four critically acclaimed volumes of poetry, three award-winning volumes of essays, and a book of short fiction. By using his own daily routine as poetic fodder, Lynch has transformed the mundane task of preparing the dead into a life-affirming event. His lyrical, elegaic poems describe the dead citizens of Milford, Michigan, his own family relationships, and scenes . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Religion, Christianity

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

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