Over the next 3 weeks or so, I’ll be posting “installments” of a long poem – a pastoral elegy I’ve modeled on John Milton’s, “Lycidas.” Part I follows…
In This Monody the Author Bewails a Learned Friend, Unfortunately Left for Dead in Distant Lands, 2014. And by Occasion Reveals the Ruin of a Defunct Tradition, Long Fallen from Grace.
Yet once more, yet
Down, crawling down on arid plains,
Parched plains where I search, I…
Search for my flock.
I cannot find my flock.
I cannot find my flock. I
In mountains while they drown
With thirst, while they search for
Deep pools I knew of once. Long ago.
Who would not feed my flock? I
My flock. I
Alone on ridges, moored to a mad man who
Scratches ruts in ridges down there, down
There I hear him, yes humming? Yes? Humming such
Sweet songs down
Should we stop and listen? They
Are such sweet songs. They should not
Float by, unheard
In these dry mountains, in these parched
Desert lands. I
I will write.
Arise then, you sister siblings, you spawn
Of nine nights of lust and leavings. Arise!
But… where have you gone? I have
Forgotten your mother’s name. I think
Though that she would not be pleased
By this, by this mess of broken harps,
With strings frayed, and by those
Unbound books smoldering so close
To propane fires – yes so close – and
Fed by pens and pages
Ripped from dictionaries. Yes,
I see “Myth” withering in the flames, like a fist
Forming over stolen rubies. And cigarettes still,
Still smoking by glasses with lip stains. Doors
Slamming shut down dark corridors
We dare not take. Foot-steps. Moonlight echoes
Falling across fountain-splashed,
Cold courtyards. Even
The woods whisper of our loss. See
How they hunch together in close conclaves
Of rattling leaves. Also
Our sheep seem so bored
By us, casting back dull,
Hollow eyes – laughing even
In dank desert caves.
They never come when I call,
Howling on my horn.
The apples are: apathetic.
I trudge through grasses that,
… More next week…
Posted as part of Poets United weekly Poetry Pantry.