Saturday, November 29, 2008

from Moriturus


Death, however,
     Is a spongy wall,
Is a sticky river,
     Is nothing at all.

Summon the weeper,
     Wail and sing;
Call him Reaper,
     Angel, King;

Call him Evil
     Drunk to the lees,
Monster, Devil–
     He is less than these.

Call him Thief,
     The Maggot in the Cheese,
The Canker in the Leaf–
     He is less than these.

Dusk without sound,
     Where the spirit by pain
Uncoiled, is wound
     To spring again;

The mind enmeshed
     Laid straight in repose,
And the body refreshed
     By feeding the rose–

These are but visions;
     These would be
The grave's derisions,
     Could the grave see.

Here is the wish
     Of one that died
Like a beached fish
     On the ebb of the tide:

That he might wait
     Till the tide came back,
To see if a crate,
     Or a bottle, or a black

Boot, or an oar,
     Or an orange peel
Be washed ashore . . . .
     About his heel

The sand slips;
     The last he hears
From the world's lips
     Is the sand in his ears.

What thing is little?–
     The aphis hid
In a house of spittle?
     The hinge of the lid

Of the spider's eye
     At the spider's birth?
"Greater am I
     By the earth's girth

"Than Mighty Death!"
     All creatures cry
That can summon breath–
     And speak no lie.

For he is nothing;
     He is less
Than Echo answering

Less than the heat
     Of the furthest star
To the ripening wheat;
     Less by far,

When all the lipping
     Is said and sung,
Than the sweat dripping
     From a dog's tongue.


--Edna St. Vincent Millay


LoveandSalt said...

Got the post-holiday blues, honey?

Suzanne said...

Nah, I like this poem though, I've been reading it over the past few days.

I'm happy I didn't have to face death by shopping maniacs yesterday -- all my xmas shopping is done --whoohoo!


LoveandSalt said...

No shopping this year! I'm putting on a big feast, stockings for everyone, kitchen goodies, and Sam gets a check so he can buy more work clothes. (I couldn't believe it when he got off the bus, straight from work, in a suit!!!)

I'm glad you are not blue. I'm feeling a little turquoise myself.

Suzanne said...

My favorite parts of the poem are the spider's hinge and the *bite* of that sweat dripping from the dog's tongue.

You lucky duck--perhaps it's more accurate to say you're a smart duck --although I must say I did have fun shopping for the kids this year -- except for the part when I felt that all they had for little girls were slutty dolls and makeup wtf? -- I scored some good stuff, they're going to be happy.

80's music makes me turquoise every time. xoxo