My father, Ralph McInerny, died two years today, January 29, 2010. Below is his poem, Sonnet 71, from his collection, Shakespearean Variations (St. Augustine’s Press 2001), a series of poems in which he ingeniously takes the first line and end rhymes from each of Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets and from there composes a wholly new sonnet.
No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Nor dirges play nor toll the dismal bell,
For when in earth I’m laid at last to bed
My spirit will in a better country dwell,
Where then what is will be as if it’s not,
And what is not will be again. ‘Tis so,
For there is that which cannot be forgot
But rises out of reach of tearful woe.
Why would the poet seek to catch in verse
Our deeds if we were only drying clay
And did not in our lives by acts rehearse
A drama that resists mortal decay?
Our going would elicit only moan
If we were wholly gone when we are gone.