Too short a dance
For Dad on his 75th birthday,
and for Caroline
In memoriam Marianne Jean Miller (June 27 1965 – March 7 1983)
It's just a dance although the steps may vary,
a fleeting minute's waltz without a plan;
we shoot out threads, small anchors weak and mean,
but spin ahead, chance seated at the tiller.
Some dance with friends — real or imaginary,
alone yet bonded with each member of the clan,
appearing joyful, open and serene;
frail — but for others steady as a pillar.
Some dance with words as they attempt to marry
the soul's and body's music, bound to scan
through feelings deep and shrill. Alas they glean
no genial truths that might leave spirits stiller.
Some dance with death — yet it finds them unwary
seeking them out to sever in mid-span
a million strings — let loose at seventeen.
We miss her warmth, hearts cracked, forever chiller.