Ah, The Gravedigger!
Whose spade slices the soil and sends it sailing
into the groundbox.
Hurray for the Gravedigger!
Whose hunched back has hurled tons of dirt, heaving
it out of the earth and back again.
From the doctor who first delivers, to the Gravedigger
who deposits the final delivery, we send...
Three cheers for the Gravedigger!
Whose children play among the tombstones,
their cries echo under a canopy of blue skies
acrobats above 10,000 tightly closed eyes.
This pangyric ode I wrote in honor of my father who spent 40 plus
years working as a gravedigger, most of that time without the benefit
of a backhoe or other mechanized or motorized equipment, using primarily
a shovel, pick, and digging iron. I wrote it for Tom Trusky's
Advanced Poetry Writing class at Boise State University in April, 1993.
Trusky, one of my top two or three favorite instructors for all the 25 years
I spent in school (from first grade through college), was grading tough that day.
I only got a B for the poem. Sorry, Dad.