Shifting the Sun by Diana Der-Hovanessian

When your father dies, say the Irish,
you lose your umbrella against bad weather.
May his sun be your light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Welsh,
you sink a foot deeper into the earth.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Canadians,
you run out of excuses.
May you inherit his sun, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the French,
you become your own father.
May you stand up in his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Indians,
he comes back as the thunder.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Russians,
he takes your childhood with him.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the English,
you join his club you vowed you wouldn’t.
May you inherit his sun, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Armenians,
your sun shifts forever.
And you walk in his light.

“Shifting the Sun” by Diana Der-Hovanessian, from Selected Poems. © Sheep Meadow Press, 1994.

I have been looking for this for 2 months. Finally found it today. A friend sent it to me via FB messenger right after my dad died. I thought I had stashed it somewhere easy to find. That as pretty silly of me.

It will probably make you cry a little. It made me tear up, again. But, it helps my heart, too.

Tomorrow is my parents 56th wedding anniversary.

_____________________

Ded said “Garrison Keillor read that on The Writer’s Almanac the day before my dad died. I was alone in the office in the very early morning, which was a good thing, because I knew my dad was dying, and I ended up sobbing. I also knew it was a gift, and I worked to find a copy of it (this was 1996, before you could find anything on the interwebs) to be read at his funeral. On the first anniversary of my dad’s death, Garrison Keillor read it on The Writer’s Almanac again. Since then I have always shared it with friends when their dad’s pass, and it was read at the funeral of my children’s father. It means a great deal to me; I’m glad it means a great deal to you too.”

dna

The Dead by the Side of the Road

THE DEAD BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD

How did a great Red-tailed Hawk
come to lie—all stiff and dry—
on the shoulder of
Interstate 5?

Her wings for dance fans

Zac skinned a skunk with a crushed head
washed the pelt in gas; it hangs,
tanned, in his tent

Fawn stew on Hallowe’en
hit by a truck on highway forty-nine
offer cornmeal by the mouth;
skin it out.

Log trucks run on fossil fuel

I never saw a Ringtail til I found one in the road:
case-skinned it with the toenails
footpads, nose, and whiskers on;
it soaks in salt and water
sulphuric acid pickle;

she will be a pouch for magic tools.

The Doe was apparently shot
lengthwise and through the side—
shoulder and out the flank
belly full of blood

Can save the other shoulder maybe,
if she didn’t lie too long—
Pray to their spirits. Ask them to bless us:
our ancient sisters’ trails
the roads were laid across and kill them:
night-shining eyes

The dead by the side of the road.

~Gary Snyder
    Turtle Island