Monday 26 November

I wonder at all the other 26 Novembers—
The todays for some and the yesterdays for some.
I wonder at the other Monday 26 Novembers
That felt quite like this one—
And did a child play in fallen leaves
Or in fallen snow?
Did a hard, cold rain fall
Or did the sun fall like a great beacon?

And did a young man, ages ago or yesterdays ago,
Sit down at his desk,
Pen or quill in hand,
Ink smudges lining the beds of his fingernails
(from whence came all those funny words,
Until, good God, some oil was struck,
Making rich the writer, making rich his
Sons)? Or did a young man
Yawn and turn over once more,
Escaping the incessant drones of some similar bells?

I recall one such 26 November—sacred and bleak
Where a great hush fell with the avocados
Down to the earth with a whisper.
Children played in the murky waters, splashed
As though only an ant might have died,
Squashed beneath their fumbling feet
As they padded towards the shore and the waves.
Then from the west, with the falling light,
Came the sound of some similar bells—
They called out, like fireworks splitting the sky,
A death knell.
And all at once, there came a hush,
Soft as the crushing of the life of some ant.

I wonder at how they used every 26 Novembers—
A lifetime of Monday 26 Novembers.
How did the lady tidy each stray hair
Before approaching the aisle?
And how did the son creep up beside the lizard
To catch it before it ran off?
And how did the oil monger carry home his wealth
In dirty handfuls with stained fingernail beds?
And how did some similar bells sound
In all of the other 26 Novembers?

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