The Gathering


The glad and handsome gathering
Assembled under brilliant skies
Was cheerful and convivial,
Engaged in animated talk.

They stood in groups of two or three,
Conversing on white marble steps
Outside an all-too-solid church
Attending to the subtle soul.

A stranger might be justified
In thinking that a marriage rite
Or baptism brought them to hear
The just-concluded formula.

But no, it was a funeral
And though their clothes were beautiful,
Framing smiles and shining faces,
Sorrow was the guest unspoken.

Some remembered Jim McGuinness
As a young man of ambition;
Some recalled his early childhood,
Days of play unwinding slowly.

Oh, the only good that comes of
Such a premature conclusion
Is the stillness of the moment
Dedicated to the loved one.


©2016 Michael Fraley




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