Thursday, July 7, 2016

The First Time Percy Came Back

The First Time Percy Came Back

The first time Percy came back
he was sailing on a cloud...

"Percy," I cried out, and reached to him-
those white curls-
but he was unreachable. As music
is present yet you can't touch it...

When I first read the poem, my sister had died only a few weeks earlier.  She had come back to us in dreams, first to my niece, and then to me, young, healthy, and thin.  She lived through a long illness, as did both my parents, and my father- and mother-in-law.  They are all gone, yet they keep coming back to me, sometimes more frequently and vividly than they did when they first died. Heck, even more than when they were alive.  My wish to have them with me also grows stronger.

Why couldn't I see their music, their beauty, more when they were alive?  Why does it seem so hard to touch that inescapable wonder in each and every one of us, and in each and every moment?

We live through such depths of pain, misery, and loss, all which hollow us out. But there, in that pit, an orchestra made up of all whom we have known, know, and will know, sounds loudly, "wake up!"

Questions for Reflection

Whom do you wish would come back? What would you say to them? Do?

Do those who have died or gone away ever really leave us?

Who can you find, today, to tell a story of loss, and of a coming back to life?


  1. I was just reading this poem from a book of Mary Oliver's poems I just bought and Googled to find out more. Your commentary was really helpful. My parents have both just died and I miss them. Thank you.

  2. It's a powerful image to think of our loved ones on a cloud. I lost my father two years ago and think of him as a whisper or a breeze, just behind me where I can't easily turn to see him but he's there causing pages to turn.

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