Mulligan

In memoriam for my father-in-law, Phil Rouleau

 

My virgin shot

                        from the first tee at the Royal Regina

 

                                                     took off straight for the spectators,

 

                                                                                                hit a tree,

 

                                                     bounced back

 

                        with a crack

 

            like a nail gun,

 

and landed thirty feet behind me.

 

Here’s the thing about golf: It’s impossible

                                           to exaggerate how badly you’ve done.

So it’s the sport that’s most like life.

 

It takes a certain kind of mind to play the game.

To love it is something else again.

 

I wanted to change the world – and get things right.

Phil wanted to love the world as it was – and do his best.

 

Thirty feet is not a long way – until it’s backwards.

                                  The ball nested in the grass, the egg of shame.

The silence was so full, you could have walked on it –

                                   and Phil must have because I didn’t hear him

                                   until he stood beside me, a new ball in his hand.

 

Yoda said, Do or do not. There is no try.

Yoda never played golf.

Yoda was wrong.

 

For proof, I offer Phil’s wisdom that kept me in that game,

                        and in how many more I cannot say since then:

                                                           That happens, he said, Try again.

 

 


from On Not Losing My Father's Ashes in the Flood (Wolsak and Wynn, 2016), © Richard Harrison 2016, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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