Crowded Cambridge Buses
I won’t sing a winsome ballad,
As my strings are all unstrung;
I’ll forsake my merry mischief:
You were taken far too young.
I won’t swim the English Channel;
I won’t climb McKinley’s peak—
Since you died, my hopes are rubble:
I’ve been crying for a week.
I won’t lift a glass of Guinness;
I’ll abstain from Maker’s Mark:
I’ll put down the gin martini
(No more cocktails after dark).
How I’ve searched for you in churches!
But despite my anguished prayer,
All I see are sculpted angels:
I can’t find you anywhere.
August will collapse to autumn
With its nights of killing frost:
Faith would say that God has gained you;
I will weep for what I’ve lost.
Now I stumble through a city
Where the trace and trail of you
Evanesce to cherished memories
In my heart so bruised and blue.
You were sunlight, you were fire,
You were Holy Eucharist:
You were Irish Catholic Boston;
Yours, the blush-bright cheek I kissed.
In the spring, you had a backache,
Then they told you what it was,
And it stole you in the summer:
I ask why; there’s no because.
I can’t rouse you from your coffin;
I can’t raise you from the dust:
I can’t get your stopped pulse beating;
I protest because I must.
Can’t you call me up or text me,
Speak some solace through the phone?
I ride crowded Cambridge buses,
But I’m horribly alone.
Editor’s Note: This beautifully written lament emphasizes the bluesy grief of the speaker with its melancholy rhythm (trochaic tetrameter).