The more the merrier

Jan Haag teaches journalism and creative writing at Sacramento City College where she is the chair of the journalism department and advises student publications. She is the author of Companion Spirit, a collection of poems about her husband’s death at the age of 48, published by Amherst Writers & Artists Press. She leads writing groups in Sacramento where the topic of grief and loss often arises. Read more of her beautiful writing here.

The day we gathered to remember you,
fires rampaged across our state
as the diablo winds whipped October,

and stories circled like whirling leaves
of structures and souls swept under flame,
not to mention other devil winds

sweeping across Caribbean islands,
and plates shifting below the surface,
wavelengths rocking already ravaged lands.

So much has perished, including you,
we thought, and then a choir of angels
in a church across the street from

your last home celebrated your life,
and those of us who’d come to mourn
found you in those soaring chords,

in murmured prayers floating heavenward,
in words from your most beloved remembering you
to all of us sitting, heads bowed, hands clasped—

the more the merrier, you used to say,
which made us smile, hearing your good voice,
basking in the grace of the unseen—

and the old prayer assured us that
life is eternal, that love is immortal, that
death is only a horizon, and a horizon

is nothing but the limit of our vision,
reminding us of the enduring, limitless

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  • Jan Haag says:

    This poem is a tribute to Mary Terese Dolan, intrepid leader of the Dive Lunch Club in the Language & Literature division at Sacramento City College. She also served as assistant to a number of deans in that division, who couldn’t have done their jobs without her. She was also a mother of girls (and adored them) and was generally adored by pretty much everyone who knew her.

    • Margo Fowkes says:

      What a lovely tribute to Mary Terese. I love that line about “hearing your good voice”. The way you and others adored her comes through beautifully in the poem.

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