Thursday, December 12, 2019

Yet Rest

“Come and stand beside me. It’s alright.”

These words are of uncertain origin
With no obvious cognates, simple words
From everyday American English,
Two common monosyllables—yet, rest.

Every language has something like a yet,
Doesn’t it? And every language a rest,
Some word or phrase translatable as rest?
Find me a tongue with no equivalent.

And yet, these terms themselves are oddities
Unique to English, not borrowings, just
A bit like German, a bit like Frisian,
No Proto-Indo-European known.

I like them for that. They are familiar,
Plain. I know them like the back of my hand.
They are humble and useful as peasants,
And with the same dark gift of dissembling.

They’re no kin to their bewitching master,
Death, born aristocratic, entitled,
Descended from the very root, to die,
Dheu, cease, become senseless, vanish away.

Death I have flirted with shamelessly, but
At every approach, I have stammered, blushed,
And retreated, forced to admit I am
Not ready, not yet. Death could use a rest.

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