Care for the Dead

posted by Unknown On Sunday, October 11, 2009
(The following is from my 2005 book of poetry, Ordinary Time, which provided the inspiration for the title of this blog. I will be republishing the poems here over the next several weeks in their original order)


Care for the Dead


              To sense the life
    that used to live here,
       I pick up a clump
     of dirt from the field
                  and let it crumble
    between my fingers
        and watch it fall  
 and mix back
              with the earth.
        Something here
                      has changed. I
                 changed and changed it.
    I have desecrated
      something sacred.
           I ask nature        
              to forgive the bulldozer
       of my hands, crumpling
           the graves of men
                             I never knew,
                and never cared about,
         until now.
Now I come. Now the poet
     in me
  pretends to care.
                   I try. I do. But I
         cannot wait for a better poet
     to caress my dust
           and write of his love
                              for the dirt
                  between his fingertips
          and buried under his nails.


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