Post image for Poem: In Memorium by Jack H. Simons

Poem: In Memorium by Jack H. Simons

by Jack Simons on December 4, 2015

in Featured, Poetry

In Memoriam:
Norman, Oklahoma, 1946
by Jack H. Simons

Mom and Dad died — buried ten weeks apart

On equally cold, wet, blustery days.

And I fell into despair — as though I

Had never gone to war, had never read

The offices at the graveside, had not aged.

As I mourned my way to a darker world.

I remembered their joy, their hope, seeing

Their glow the night we walked from our home on

McNamee Street to the Memorial Union

To hear the midnight chimes. I was a small

Child. I saw black and white, dark and light

Under a bright moon that turned the sidewalk

Into a shining path.

I had been born under the sign of war,

And though I knew nothing,

War was all I knew —

I slept under wool, war-surplus blankets.

I wore a sheepskin pilot’s helmet

With hooks, and snaps, and ear holes.


My parents had lived through the war as

An interval between youth and the

Promise — and now they had the down payment:

A house, two children, the GI Bill, my Dad’s

Hope to be an engineer, my Mom’s desire

To teach literature — both romantics,

Either could have suggested the chimes

At midnight. They walked arm-in-arm, and my

Dad carried Fred. The silent streets led at

Last to the Union tower. Warm August air

Washed us, and I asked: “How long?”

“Not long now,” Father said.

My parents held hands as the hour chimed.

They kissed, and I heard the pleasant

Murmur of their talk. We turned for home. I

Complained I couldn’t keep up.

The word came back: “Keep up.”

They laughed and talked the rest of

The way home, and once there I went to bed.


I have since dreamed of the trek. In the dream

We hear the chimes strike midnight, and turn for

Home. I follow, but I cannot keep up.

A cloud covers the moon. I fall behind.

I call out. No one answers.

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