Tag Archives: sadness

R. S. V. P.


R.S.V. P.

For No One in Particular

I am requesting
The favour of a reply.
From you.
And of course, you may
Accept with pleasure
Decline with regret.
The choice is yours because
I can’t really tell you what to do.
I never could, after all.
If I did, you wouldn’t like it,
And that would be the end
Of a beautiful friendship.
I’m trying to round up the usual suspects,
But if you can’t or won’t come
We’ll always have Paris
And a few other cities I can think of,
In alphabetical order they are:
Amsterdam, Atlanta, Berlin, Bogotá, Buenos Aires,
Charleston (South Carolina), Denver, Hong Kong, Istanbul,
Johannesburg, Lima, London, Los Angeles, Montréal,
Moscow, Mumbai, New York City,Paris, Portland (Oregon),
Reykjavik, Rio de Janeiro, San Diego, San Francisco, São Paulo,
Seattle, Seoul, Shanghai,Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto,
And Washington, D.C.
We’ve been a lot of places
And had a lot of laughs
Yes, didn’t we have a blast?
Didn’t we have fun?
And while I’m asking questions,
Are we still a pair?
By your refusal to respond (if you please)
I see this party’s over and
It’s time to call it a day,
Time to stop quoting from
Popular songs and movies. So,
So long, kid. It was real and
It was fun, but here at the end
It wasn’t real fun.
H here’s lookin’ at you,
Which I would do
Were you here,
But you aren’t.
To use a little more French
The language of love,
C’est bien dommage.
N’est ce pas?
It’s too bad,
Isn’t it?
Isn’t it just?




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Friday Poem of the Week: Ink and Memory

Martha Adams' entry in the 1820 Federal Census is about halfway down this image.

Martha Adams’ entry in the 1820 Federal Census is about halfway down this image.

Ink and Memory

The sign in Staples read “Ink and Memory,” and they got that right:

Ink is inextricably linked to memory

Although more profoundly than their products would suggest.

They meant ink for printers and memory cards for computers

I think of the carefully scribed lines in Spenserian script

Found in old census records like the one I was looking at

A couple of nights ago on Ancestry.com, the Federal Census of 1820,

And there was my distant ancestor Martha Adams

Who in 1812 owned land in Tennessee on which she paid taxes.

No birth record, of course, but I would estimate her age

In 1812 as about 18, meaning she was born around 1794.

She does not show up on the 1810 Census, so perhaps she emigrated from England,

I believe, sometime before 1812.

As my brother would say, more research is needed.

I wonder what kind of person Martha Adams was.

She might have married a man named Labora Adams

(The records are not clear) and they might have had

A daughter named Matilda who is my three times-great grandmother.

Beyond that I know nothing of her.

What color was her hair?

Did she laugh easily?

Did she work hard like most women of the time?

Did she have good times as well as tragedies?

Weddings, picnics, springtime walks, church services, babies born, engagements, parties,

As well as

Still births, funerals, accidents, absences, quarrels, injuries, deaths, and the like.

What did she eat?

What did she wear?

How long did she live?

Was she happy?

Did her husband and children love her?

Did she love them?

I do not think these things can ever be known

This side of the grave.

But there she is in the careful pen strokes and

In the image on the screen

And so in memory made palpable and living through


Dan Verner

June 27, 2013

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Friday Poem of the Week: On Seeing Some People Removing the Possessions of Their Relative from the Assisted Living Home

Packing boxes

On Seeing Some People Removing the Possessions of Their Relative from the Assisted Living Home

Who are these forms bending low
Over carts stacked with
Boxed and baled possessions
Of mother, father, aunt, uncle, brother, cousin, in-law,
Secured by cord,
Their downcast faces
Blank as the asphalt?
A life reduced to a few small things
Piled for removal
A ceremony as sure as a funeral
A life remembered
By a few and
Without notice.

–Dan Verner


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