George Heavilin (Poem-A-Day 16)

George Heavilin

Thursday evening between 7pm and 9pm I’ll be doing Poetry On Demand at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science in Raleigh. Come on out and try to stump me!

For today’s prompt, write an elegy. An elegy doesn’t have specific formal rules. Rather, it’s a poem for someone who has died. In fact, elegies are defined as “love poems for the dead” in John Drury’s The Poetry Dictionary. Of course, we’re all poets here, which means everything can be bent. So yes, it’s perfectly fine if you take this another direction–for instance, I once wrote an elegy for card catalogs. Have at it!

George Heavilin (1914-2007)

Named for his grandfather
My mom’s dad is the grandparent
I resemble most
Though not physically

He rarely spoke though we assumed
Because Grandma was rarely quiet

He loved walking in cemeteries
Collecting genealogies

He gave me my first telescope
One he’d built years before

He kept detail records
Of his solitaire games

He and Grandma ran off
Once they had grandchildren
To join the circus

Of course there were differences
He was proud to have crossed picket lines
I would rather he had manned

He would have disapproved of my drinking
And strip club poetry

My grandmother alluded to problems
Early in their marriage
That they worked through
And came within a month
Of celebrating their 70th anniversary

Since my wives only last five years
I would need fourteen to get that far
And I just don’t think I’m up for it
Without resorting to polygamy

About Bartholomew Barker

Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.
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