I won’t give you pathos for flowers. a poem by John Echem

John Echem

I won’t give you pathos for flowers 

(For James Coburn, a tribute on his birthday)

Steeped in the lost idyll of ancient times,
The drumroll began to toll,
As he sat withdrawn on a cobblestone,
Beneath strokes from a belfry tower.
"I won't give you pathos for flowers,"
A lad said to him.
His gaze pierced the shroud of the ethereal,
Like a spirit dallying across the great hinge.
Desolate Coburn, weary from calling,
Does the winding phase bring relief,
Sequestered from the vale of grief?
Echoed the prying lad.
Woolgathering, the geriatric is lost for words,
Gaping at the filigree of wrinkled leaves.
Once were these lilacs, the mustache of a solitary hill,
Polished in the armpit of dawn.
Once were they, the bearded face of a lawn.
As the world orbits, fulfilling its circle,
Mine, maybe, another February twenty-fifth?
"Isn't it, my boy?" queried the grandsire.
Sponged in stupefaction, at what it feels
To be sixty-eight.
Does the moon still fizzle from the nostrils of the never-never land? 
The earth, an ominous lull in a ghostly land.
Dragonflies with wings heavy with dews,
Clumsy, their aptitudes to show.
The lad demanded. Languidly, he raised his eyebrows,
As was the deity's, Pan.
His thick silver lush, heavy with discernment,
Ran an even sentence.
His deep grinding voice spooned from within,
A heartfelt note, would give–
"What would you have me do, my son?
My apparition rises above the wrinkled sun.
My quarrel is not of this world..."
The old man opined.
He fixed a stare on the dingy depth,
Across the threshold, Thelma calling,
From an alcove high, solitude invites.
"I'll be with you, mother,
Before the sun resigns.
I am weary from calling..."
Dazed by his mysterious sayings,
The lad held him by his hand.
"I won't give you pathos for flowers,
In this garden of thorns,
Where darlings rot at sunspot,
But in every dying hour, this flower.
Sweet Coburn, your birth will be.

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John Echem was born in 1982 at Mbonge Maroumba, Southern Cameroon, to the family of Rose Namondo Sakwe and the late inspector Aluu John Echem, a native of Amata-Amachi, Akpoha, Afikpo North L.G.A., Ebonyi State, Nigeria. John Echem grew up in Mbonge, his maternal hometown, before moving to Nigeria, his fatherland in the late ’90s. He presently lives in Abak, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, where he teaches Literature-in English and the English language at Esteem Schools. He specializes in poetry but he is also a memoirist and a writer of folktales. His poetry and stories have been published in a literary journal in the U.S called the Cenacle. 

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Published by darcie friesen hossack

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. Citing irreverence, the book was banned by the LaCrete Public Library in Northern Alberta. Having mentored with Giller finalists Sandra Birdsell (The Russlander) and Gail Anderson Dargatz (Spawning Grounds, The Cure for Death by Lightening), Darcie's first novel, Stillwater, will be released in the spring of 2023. Darcie is also a four time judge of the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and a career food writer. She lives in Northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, international award-winning chef, Dean Hossack.

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