Tuesday, June 10, 2008

In the Mercy of His Means

And when, at 8am, I hit the snooze,
and couldn't fall asleep, my slow thought turned
to Thomas, and I went into the poem.
But when the second stanza ended I
began again, and suddenly forgot
the second line. I lay there for a time
and tried to piece the words together. I
cannot remember when I last forgot
a poem - I've never lost a second line.
A line in "Coliseum" often trips
me, even one in "Fern Hill," but at the
end. Never the beginning of a poem.
And so I lay, through one, then two alarms,
and by the time I brushed my teeth my knees
were shaking. Which of my old friends would I
lose next? And if I can't recall a line,
which would I lose entirely to time?
Now I'll be late for work, and on my ride,
I'll cycle through, in fear of what is gone,
as when a Philatelist, coming home,
discovers his home flooded. Spends his day
in turning pages, books. Now which of my
best pieces, years spent in collecting them,
is ruined here, by Time's persistent crawl?
Will it be Poe or Eliot or Keats,
and when they're gone, how will I ever hear
The rattle of the bones, and chuckle spread from ear to ear?
And when the words have left, which song will be
sung by mermaids, how will they sing to me?

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