Elegy #9
by H. Palmer Hall H. Palmer Hall

H. Palmer Hall's most recent books are Into the Thicket (Ink Brush, 2011) and Foreign and Domestic (Turning Point, 2009). His work has appeared in various magazines, from Texas Observer and North American Review to Ascent and Connecticut Review and points in between. He's a librarian at St. Mary's University where he edits Pecan Grove Press.

So, I'm writing elegies and taking liberties with so many conventions.
No enlightenment at the end, no nymphs and shepherds dancing along
The way. That's okay—the failure in freedom of the last and this century.

I do have a very sick man at the middle of it all and his remembrances
Of his father and mother, a brutal war he survived, marched against,
With people he cared for among the indigenous peoples and his own.

He spoke the language—mostly—did you know? He learned from Le-Linh
That "nha toi" means both "my house" and "my family." Like here, in a way,
Though we don't often think of it: "The House of Usher," "the House of Windsor."

As [He] Lay Dying he thought of those things: of intertwining patters
of southern literature, of his own house, though no one really called it that:
England to Virginia in 1632, then by odd paths to Georgia, Florida, Texas.

What do you think? Please send us your comments, including the name of the work you are commenting on.
Permalink to the Amarillo Bay issue containing this work.