"When Archie died..."

Here is a haunting poem by John Whitworth, from the August 20 & 27, 2010, issue of the TLS:LittleWhen Archie died the year was dying too.Late loitering leaves were drifting to the ground,A time when dying has a lot to do,And does it with a dry, susurrant sound.Some say when Archie died it was not much A boy who did not walk or talk. But heDid love to smile and laugh and look and touch.He did do that. He did it constantly.So small, so weak, so fragile, yet when Death,That most ingenious and practised thief,Unlocked the house and stooped and stopped the breath,He left a strong sufficiency of grief.Now is a winter and a summer since,And now the days of dying are come again --A year since Archie died, our Little Prince.A year of rain and sun, and sun and rain.

Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

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