Lay Back the Darkness

by Edward Hirsch

My father in the night shuffling from room to room
on an obscure mission through the hallway.

Help me, spirits, to penetrate his dream
and ease his restless passage.

Lay back the darkness for a salesman
who could charm everything but the shadows,

an immigrant who stands on the threshold
of a vast night

without his walker or his cane
and cannot remember what he meant to say,

though his right arm is raised, as if in prophecy,
while his left shakes uselessly in warning.

My father in the night shuffling from room to room
is no longer a father or a husband or a son,

but a boy standing on the edge of a forest
listening to the distant cry of wolves,

to wild dogs,
to primitive wingbeats shuddering in the treetops.

Categories: Poetry Sundays | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Lay Back the Darkness

  1. Heartbreaking, and so beautiful.

  2. Not a lot to say about that. Sometime I read a poem and wish I could have written it. I’m glad I could not write this one.

  3. indigo bunting


  4. Godwin

    Great I should say. I mean for somebody who loves his father, and to see him shake with Alzheimer and breaking down would be heartbreaking. That’s Hirsch.

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