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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Your Sunday Poem

This from David Harsent, appearing in the August 10 & 17 2009 New Yorker. Harsent’s book, “Selected Poems 1969 -2005” is just waiting for you at your local bookstore.

GHOSTS

They bring with them a coldness, as tradition demands,
and a light, dry odor of rot
much like worm in wood, and bring a chorus of cries

to fill the air as if it were birdsong, and bring in the their open hands
tokens of themselves, a letter, a snapshot,
and bring some trace of their point of departure, a smudge

on a shoe, a stain on the sleeve, and bring the disguise
they lived under, stitched with their names,
hoping you’ll give them the nod, hoping you’ll recognize

something, perhaps, of the old times, the fun and games,
while they shuffle up as if they stood on the edge
of night so a nudge would tip them over, and bring

a dew of death that settles on picture frames,
on pelmets, on clothes in the closet, on books,
on your eyelash, to make a prism through which you get

a broken image of what must be a stage set
of the Peaceable Kingdom, a front
for that place you only ever find in dreams,

its undrinkable rivers, its scrubland of snarls and hooks,
horizons gone askew,
beasts hamstrung and walking on their hocks,

and bring their long-lost hopes, which they lay at your feet
then stand back, stand apart,
hairless, soft-skinned, their eyes bright blue

like the eyes of the newborn, and bearing a look
of matchless sorrow, as would, for sure,
stop the heart of whoever it is they take you for.

2 comments:

Alon Perlman said...

Speaking of Ghosts;
And not to re-raise the Specter from grave to cradle to grave and dusk till dawn and dust to Magma to Granite to sand to dust again.

1. When did the 1399th page hit the LOWWP County website? (I just visited it last night.)
As in - exact date please?
2. Also if known, when did the skydrive posted piller of documents retreat back behind the wall of fire. (Firewall to you of the literalist religion).
Historical reference only.
----------------------------------
New Histories are (re-)written every day, only the News remains the same.

"Like the wise old eyes of the newborn, and bearing an accusing look, remindful of Amatchless Eternal book of sorrowS, as would, for sure, stop the fanned flames engulfing,the yet Pulsing, wrenched out, held out, Bleedingheart of whoever it is they take you for every penny you got".

Sewertoons said...

Really apropos poem, and another great one - thanks Ann!