Professor Marc Hudson's
son, Ian, born with cerebral palsy, is now a poet and a senior at Crawfordsville High School.

"A Familiar Song" first appeared
in The Hopewell Review and
will be included in Hudson's forthcoming collection, The Disappearing Poet Blues, which Bucknell University Press will publish later this year.


Winter/Spring 2001

A Familiar Song
November 1993

by Marc Hudson

My son's inconsolable weeping
over the monitor tonight
seems like an old song
he's picked up listening in the November darkness,
adding his own lament to the ragged tune.
But I'm tired of the burden,
I just want to sleep
and so I let him cry
with that histrionic intensity
I can hardly abide.

This evening in the Times
I saw photos of the beautiful, arched bridge,
Stari Most, "a crescent moon in stone,"
shattered by Croat guns.
I read how the architect, Hayrudin,
braced the limestone blocks with iron
and how lovers, crossing there
century by century, wore them smooth.

And still Ian cries, gulping the close air
like a gaffed fish, choking himself.
I know his braces aren't too tight,
and he's warm, his bear tucked
under his arm. He just wanted to say the lines
of the Old Green Grasshopper, for Christ's sake,
for once he wanted to speak his own part in the play
from his inarticulate body.

So he weeps, and I think of that other picture--
of the wide-eyed schoolchildren lying on cots
in the morgue of Kosevo Hospital.
They're just his age, nine maybe ten,
like the fifth graders who played the Centipede,
the Spider, and the Earthworm tonight.

Soon, very soon now, I'll go to him
and massage his tight shoulders.
I will lift him up in my arms
and tell him, "It's alright."
And he, with the ancient grasshopper's wisdom,
will let me lie and console him.

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