All The Men Went

by Charles Bane, Jr.



All the men went

to the mines and

my grandfather carried

a canary in a small cage.

When the bird expired he

chose to stay as the others

rushed to air.

At his funeral Mass in

the church he never

entered, a choir sang

Danny Boy that was his

drinking song. No one

understood his choice

to lay beside his pick

and sleep; but I had

spent a night in his home

when I was small and called

down for his company.

He lay beside me

and explained how

the light that reflects

through a prism is a true

division of a miracle and

this was joyous to him to

know and he described

the tracks of carts carrying coal

and the flashing lamps of fellow

gods and he recounted, touching

my hair, the Iliad and Apollo of the sky

on a knee, firing arrows in single


He was without vice: but when the

elevator ascended from the shaft

in daylight savings time, grand-

mother told me he disappeared to

land for sale and tasted the rich black

soil of Illinois with a spoon. I think,

and write, of ultra violet and infra red

light that vibrates in every kind of

molecule, even cloud drops, in

a music for grandfather and choice



Note: This poem first appeared in The Good Men Project.