Written on a Funeralbypushkine©
Now pile your dust upon the quick and dead
—Hamlet: V, i, 251
There's flowers and corpses and, sometimes, love
In almost any graveyard. Like a mist
Or stench, that hangs about because it must—
The flowers wilted, dying; the dead, dead.
Love is often, but not always, different.
Symbolically, failed loves can be found
In shallow graves. The real flame-outs are found
In small ceramic urns, still warm with love
That flared too quickly and went out. Different
Lovers find different graves, some dimmed by mist
Or rage. In any case, these are their dead:
Like Susan, whom I've not forgot, who must
Spread her luscious legs eternally, must
Open for my consciousness, be there found
Infinitely desirable, not dead.
And she is just one woman I did love.
This grass is very green. The rising mist
Refreshes, and we are here for different
Purposes, though perhaps not so different,
After all, for physicality must,
For our dear species' sake, rise out of mist
And stalk the Serengeti plains. I've found
My genes and I both selfish, in that love
Still shackles me to Susan, who is dead
And buried here. Such final word, that dead,
A word itself cadaverous, different,
Wholly lacking in Dasein or in love.
What is ironical is now I must
Remember how Susan and I first found
Each other's body, lying in the mist
So near these graves. Earlier, that same mist
Soothed our overheated skin, then not dead,
But emerging from youth into life-found
Paths where intimacy is no different
Than talk, though more important. And I must
Acknowledge what I've learned here. That is—Love
Is evanescent mist, no different from
How the quick fly dead. I must remember
This cemetery. Here found I, lost, love.
Survivor Poetry Contest
Trigger 31, Form M (Sestina)