And Now I Rest

by Ken Harnisch

For Gene


Now I rest

An end that was pre-ordained

When I was begun

But, like that beginning

Not necessarily at a place or time of my choosing.


If I had it my way

I would have read one more book

Done one more project

Had one more political debate with

Each of my daughters

And for sure

I would have had one last dance with

My wife


But, do not mourn me overlong

And if you mourn me for the minute

Then you must laugh with me

An hour

I was not one for tears

Or those shed in my name

And if you must say the kind words,

Keep them manageable and honest

Remember to add the wrinkles and the scars and the folds

That made me human, and all too real


Oh, and do me a favor

Don’t talk of me in the past tense

What I was, I still am

What I am, I will always be

And if, on your darker nights

The wind blows cold

And the vespers of remembered loneliness

Moan through the withered trees

Remember, you can still talk to me

We’ll find the answers to all those questions

Together, eventually


My legacy is a simple one

And if all I did was to leave a lasting footprint

In the sand of all your lives

Then I achieved much and can be justly proud


And now, I rest


Author's Note: For my brother-in-law, Eugene Ambrose Mangan, died, May 19, 2004

Posted on 05/23/2004
Copyright © 2021 Ken Harnisch

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Maureen Glaude on 05/24/04 at 07:14 PM

the trueness and respect for the realness shine through. beautifully said, Ken, and my deepest condolences. Your last two are show telling of the fragility of life, even well befpore old age hits.

Posted by Melissa Arel on 06/07/04 at 03:09 AM

I'm so sorry for your family's loss, Ken.. I know Gene is honored by this fitting and touching tribute.. all my best..

Posted by Kate Demeree on 02/23/05 at 02:39 AM

I had missed this one... and am very glad that I found it now. The tribute is so heart touching that it makes one wish.... they had the words to utter it. Beautiful, and touching....

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