Aug 272011

On undemanding ground
Shot through with hollow sounds
Bird or bullet make
Or some other keen cry, I take
This man for model, though in truth
A small man of the town; and although
His grandfather was a thief
And his father worse than that,
I respect his grief, for what else can I
That wander in the clay?

There was a man had died
Frozen to the mountainside
And, nothing in his climbing pack
And less upon his withered back,
He ascended the wintry peak
Sang a rich bar tune and died.
It was out of pride
The old man had died.
He gripped a flute, knew God's great lie,
And had a clarity in the eye.

And at the last, a damned wretched gaiety
Suffused his frame.
Mountain echo upon echo
Hollowed out his fame;
Dying, trying once again
To empty himself of troubles by the score--
"This joy of death
Stops the breath."
In the trees, excited laughter;
And after, the silence.

NOTE: this poem originally published in “Constellations in December.”

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