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”Sometimes I swear I can smell his cigars.”


A “felt sense of lingering presence” might be another way to describe that phenomenon. Some of the tools in my woodshop were my father's (and some his father's), and on some of the shelves are his jars of screws, all sorted by size and labeled in his characteristic block printing. In fact, the whole shop is an ancestor shrine, and often when I'm working there, a sense of his presence is undeniable. In one corner of my kitchen, I placed my Mom's Windsor chair. It's an elegant thing to look at, an uncomfortable thing to sit in. But it's a metaphor in its shape and positioning for who my Mom was in ways that a poet would understand. So I'm a “modern” who very much believes in ghosts and who creates ancestor shines and who believes that our forebearers die to us only if we cease to tell their stories.

”Death has visited us recently, so I, too, have been considering the transition. It's on odd thing, something that effects a few deeply while the rest of the world takes no notice.”

Death will visit all of us, as John Donne noted long ago in his oft quoted Meditation XVII: No Man Is an Island, as Hopkins notes in the poem below, which should give one pause. For what is our constant striving? Will a few more basis points of yield here or there really matter if death comes “too early”? It's so easy to get caught up the struggle for economic survival that other survivals become neglected, just as it is all too easy to become so overwhelmed by ongoing wars that the moment in front of us isn't appreciated. How to live in the world, but not be only of the world, is how I would describe the struggle and conclude that investing isn't just about the money.


Spring and Fall

MÁRGARÉT, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves, líke the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Áh! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow's spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

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