Two poetry posts today.
I’d prepared something vastly different from this one, and I’ll post it later this afternoon—but pretending, by omission, that I wasn’t affected by the events of last week seemed . . . disrespectful, somehow.
There are as many poems about death, mourning, funerals, and grief as there are ways to die and mourn, and honor, and grieve.
Some poets find death a friend, some find it an enemy, some choose to comfort, some to despair, some to describe, rejoice, bargain.
And some stand defiant.
This week, after a devastating reminder that death does not always provide time, reason, or closure. . . I believe I do, too.
Death be not proud
Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures bee, 5
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe go,
Rest of their bones, and souls delivery.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell, 10
And poppy, or charms can make us sleep as well,
And better then thy stroke; why swell’st thou then;
One short sleep past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
Dirge without Music
(Edna St. Vincent Millay)
I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.
Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, — but the best is lost.
The answers quick & keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.
Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.