Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Of Dead Poets Dying Again

Every time the living exhume them,
In a year, in a millennium,
Breathing beyond the strength of monsters

And the indifference of the world,
Poor ghost poets have to die again,
And this is a terrible sorrow

Dragging them down, almost staggering
With grief, phrase by phrase. They had no wish
To return. They’d wanted to go on,

Which isn’t the same as coming back.
There was a crumbling stone embankment
Beside the cemetery named Hope

In a desultory desert town.
The children said, if you went at night,
On a night when the long canyon winds

Fell on the town like knives from the cliffs,
And the trees were miserably whipped,
You could see them sitting up there

On the embankment, huddled like birds,
Pages for feathers, black ink for souls,
Anyone from that graveyard who wrote,

Dying all over again, moaning
Softly, recitations in the wind.
What were the steps by which they’d transformed

Starlight into the substance of life?
They’d forgotten, busy being dead.
Now buzzing out of their boundaries

They are trying to breathe through their words,
And the wind almost convinces them,
But they can’t. Children will bury them.

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