Posted by: carolyn / through a widow's eyes | December 1, 2010

Poem: His Stillness

A sad and beautiful poem for my college girl, as she begins the next piece of her life      
towards which she's been working all along:



His Stillness 


by Sharon Olds


The doctor said to my father,"You asked me

to tell you when nothing more could be done.

That's what I'm telling you now." My father

sat quite still, as he always did,

especially not moving his eyes. I had thought

he would rave if he understood he would die,

wave his arms and cry out. He sat up,

thin, and clean, in his clean gown, like a holy man. The doctor said,

"There are things we can do which might give you time,

but we cannot cure you." My father said,

"Thank you." And he sat, motionless, alone,

with the dignity of a foreign leader.

I sat beside him. This was my father.

He had known he was mortal.

I had feared they would have to

tie him down. I had not remembered

he had always held still and kept quiet to bear things,

the liquor a way to keep still. I had not

known him. My father had dignity. At the

end of his life his life began

to wake in me.

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