02 March 2006


September 16, 1926 - March 2, 2001
His example shines always.

My dad's family name was originally Razovsky. For much of his life, he was an inventory auditor. A counter of things. He died before my poetry collection Razovsky At Peace came out. He had laughed when I told him my next poetry book would have Razovsky in the title. Here's a poem I wrote since that collection.


The tumbling shelves
of button-filled jars, the dandelions
dotting the glistening lawn.
In the cupboard beneath the sink,
dented tins of shoe polish: black, brown,
red-brown. The rags that spilled
from the bottom drawer, from every
bottom drawer. And in the garage,
the nest of rusted pliers,
snapping, creaking.
Razovsky counted everything.

His fingers never stopped moving,
like his lips, and his eyeballs. He
inventoried, enumerated, catalogued,
whispered the names of all things,
and the things
that had no names. He counted dead uncles
he’d never met, each strand in their
long white beards, the threads
that hung from the cuffs of their
trousers. Razovsky
counted the sons they’d never had,
and the sons of the sons,
and he gave them all names.

"You’re a Razovsky,
and you a Razovsky, and your
name’s Razovsky, and I’ll call you
Razovsky." And he counted each one
on a separate finger, because that
is what he did, he counted,
and when he ran out of fingers,
he used his toes, and then
the stones in his pockets, the teeth
in his mouth, the eyes on the fly
on the window ledge,
the scampering legs of a silverfish.

And when he was done,
he sat down with them, and
he counted the chairs around
the table, and counted the prayers
that had never been uttered,
and the prayers choked
by smoke, and Razovsky
knew then who he was, and
he pinned a tag to his
shirt: "Razovsky."


At March 03, 2006 1:58 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

3 things, Raz:

You're a razovsky etc: like the Dr Seuss story about a mother with 20-some kids w. the same name?

He counted his fingers he counted his toes ... 70s Toronto poetry

counted the stones in his pocket - Beckett's Molloy?

over and out - CB

At March 04, 2006 3:42 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

buddhaful pome. beautiful thots, images
n words. everything counts.
everything counts
in th end.

At March 06, 2006 4:55 pm , Blogger torontopearl said...

Stuart: beautiful tribute to your father...and to the family name. May he rest in peace.


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