About the Poem
About the poet
Canadian poet Richard Harrison is a shrewd writer who is as much concerned with the question of...
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,
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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