This poem by Louis Phillips was read at his son Matthew Phillips's memorial service yesterday at Riverside Chapel in New York. Matthew Phillips, 26, who died on April 4, was a frequent contributor to this site.
In Puritan Massachusetts,
We wd all be out to death for such blasphemy,
This squandering of human resource.
A day of worship, as all days,
Tho no complancencies of the peignor here,
Merely electron resurrection of days gone by,
Infantile slapstick one cannot quite forget.
I am the old man worrying about time,
Explaining to my sons
Why the skinny man with the high voice
Is acting like an idiot, tho of course,
Not more idiotic than us, More hours
Lost to "the holy hush of ancient sacrifice."
God, forgive us for our sins!
It is mid-July. I can't even use
Bad weather for an excuse.
We are just being stubborn.
Think of it as an intellectual exercise:
My sons are learning what to do
When caught on a deck of a submarine
Making a dive. One must rise
To the occasion, climb to the top
Of the periscope, then pray for help.
It's the same lesson, I think,
We wd have learned in church.