Oct 302013

At the funeral of Thomas Paine, his landlady speaks

Greyly rains sink in the low sandy hole.
Deep-blue-dappled were the lively eyes of him
Who, loud about the house, piggybacked my Pym,--
Old Tom laid by like a lamp-man's pole.

Greyly rains sink in an evening nearly come.
His light is out who lit the world awake,
Who took on darkness for our sake--for our sake
Crossed sharp words to press the crisis home.

Faint lights around the world brighten in the pale.      
Tindered words fired like a shot in 'Common Sense,'
Words to make frail hearts burn the more intense
That our infant crucible might not fail.

We bury him--those two black lads prayerfully by--
Who know the worth of him we eulogize
In grey rains warm as unwiped eyes;
Beside the battered box, few mourners;  none to cry.

Words like torches gathered
Shine on the coffin's grain;
In the eyes about, a light
Inextinguishable by night.

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