A Friend was Richard Galloway,
But Samuel, his great grandson,
Built Tulip Hill on the slave trade—
Estate so proudly Georgian.
Nearby, upon the burial ground,
George Fox proclaimed the Inner Light
To those whose shriveled corpses now
Lie vacant where his words took flight.
Ten thousand years or more ago,
The first Algonquin settled here
Beside the sprawling Bay we know,
With glaciers melting on their heels.
They signed a pact with colonists,
Beneath a spreading Tulip Tree—
Today where Saint John’s College lists
The World’s Great Books for us to read.
In childhood I explored the hill
My father built our home upon;
Where Tulip Poplars’ flowers filled
Their boughs and dropped across the lawn.
How sweet it was to contemplate
Their petals cupped and yellow-green,
With red and orange glowing faint,
Like passions fading from past scenes!
Employed to search out, sort and track
Old records at your next request,
I browsed an Archives’ moldered stacks
Of rags and wood to pages pressed.
Without direction, like sere leaves
That tumble through autumnal fields,
I turned life’s pages uselessly—
What harvest could such idling yield?
From what I read between the lines
Of Quaker Records, I will quote
The whispers of the wind that winds
Its circuits through old Poplar groves:
What does it mean? A child squats low,
And lifts one fallen flower to view
Its pigments in the dew drops’ glow,
Reflecting vistas strange and new.
The Undertaker’s face,
A mask of bloodless pain,
Conceals within its space
A crematory flame
Predestined for a corpse.
How can he not, alas,
But measure up the morgue
Of mourners who file past?
Each body he prepares,
To lovingly display
For open viewing, where
The eulogies are made.
No doubt his karma-seeds
Matured to this career.
Is it himself he sees,
Embalmed and coffined there?
Lee Evans lives with his wife in Bath, Maine, and works for the local YMCA. His work has been published in The Christendom Review, Mused: The Bella Online Literary Review, The Poetry Porch, and other places. Lee has self-published several books of poetry, all of which are available on Lulu.com.