The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love–
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.
Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.
(Dirge Without Music, Edna St. Vincent Millay)
The Fall came in shadows,
Cancers of breast and prostate,
The tumor in the child’s lung,
By December it emerged
Another way, unpredicted,
Because who can predict death?
Fierce and final,
I would say it ravished,
But that would imply he may have lived.
And he didn’t.
What’s the word for being all gone,
The home you built, inhabited by strangers,
Growing cucumbers and tomatoes
In the garden you put away?
Did you think you’d see April,
The planting of the seeds?
Or July, with its harvest?
New hands take up old work,
And so, it goes on without us.
After a short time, even memory,
Struggles to keep us alive.