Saturday, December 12, 2009

Poem of the Day: "It Was Not Death"

This is a poem superficially about death but more about the end beyond which the speaker cannot see. It feels about right on this day when I have lost the last of my grandparents.

Emily Dickinson, "It was not death"

It was not death, for I stood up,
And all the dead lie down.
It was not night, for all the bells
Put out their tongues for noon.

It was not frost, for on my flesh
I felt siroccos crawl,
Nor fire, for just my marble feet
Could keep a chancel cool.

And yet it tasted like them all,
The figures I have seen
Set orderly for burial
Reminded me of mine,

As if my life were shaven
And fitted to a frame
And could not breathe without a key,
And 'twas like midnight, some,

When everything that ticked has stopped
And space stares all around,
Or grisly frosts, first autumn morns,
Repeal the beating ground;

But most like chaos, stopless, cool,
Without a chance, or spar,
Or even a report of land
To justify despair.

1 comment:

Brian Moon said...

My condolences on your loss.