At the Grave of Glenn Gould

It's an ordinary place,
for death is ordinary.
The grass is cut,
it's a tidy place.

The trees, too far apart,
cast no shadow on your name;
nearby, a squirrel, a robin,
and, at another grave, mourners
who mourn a death the first
time. Overhead, some Canada
Geese make petulant sounds.

The sun is unmerciful today,
and so is death. The whole
place seems to yawn as if,
for reasons beyond reason,
the dead are quite bored with us.

Were you ever bored, alive?
Did mastery make you weary?
Did you ever dare tread where
you might make mistakes? The

naysayers said no, and so
many made of water, fire, earth,
and air asked too humbly of the
stars what each day would be;
no wonder you and the world
went separate ways.

Still, I look for something
more on your grave. Was
perfection too painful where
no one might see your ecstasy?

You wouldn't be part
of the world unless you
had your way; you sang perfect
in much but not imperfection;

you doubted where music gave
over to dance and dance
to madness, disorder.
You marvelled at secrets,

wanted no secrets, and you
lived a secret life. You
seemed too cautious to weep
and defied emotion the best
you could, as if the heart
intended some clarity of brain.

But each life remains unlived,
unrealized; and as I leave,
I make only footsteps, only

a passing shadow. You
died at fifty, and I, at
forty-nine, like most of this
world, have not been true to
all that is true in me.