Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

This one appeared in the British magazine Candelabrum.

I started a list of what you never saw,
dead before Epsteins lived, dying while yours
wore roundheads, dead a long time, dead so well
your stones look more like sponge. I gave it up.
Who wants a list of cars and compact discs?
Who could explain epinephrine to the dead

and chronically short of breath? Still in their spheres,
the stars were not impeded by your lights;
but lacking National Geographic, you
never pinned up the Horsecrab Nebula.
It says here you’re not lost, but G N B RE.
Someone has trimmed this turf 300 years,

and still it wants to grow. The River Wye
asks no eponymous questions, flows while green
returns to grass, which is the epitaph
other grass grew. That they’d be picturesque
in increments of centuries would make
the dead rise, if they could. I wait. They can’t.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

The Sparrows' Fall

from These Denver Odes

At this week's yard sale
sparrows swap husks and hulls,
dry, but not amusing,
and they soon move on.

Next door's seed is new,
the last word in millet.
They beat each other up,
first doing no harm.

They will return. Ice
will dam their best bedrooms;
the cold will not comfort
their minuscule down:

and I'll fill their bath
regularly with hot
water, regularly
frozen in seconds.

A hard little life,
sparrows'. Precarious
hearts, what can they recall?
Listen how they sing.

Dumb little bastards.
Dry seed, cold empty beds,
taut untutored lifelines.
Listen to them sing.