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Sunday, October 02, 2011

Your Sunday Poem

This from Billy Collins, "Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes."

             Memento Mori

There is no need for me to keep a skull on my desk,
to stand with one foot up on the ruins of Rome,
or wear a locket with the sliver of a saint's bone.

It is enough to realize that every common object
in this sunny little room will outlive me --
the carpet, radio, bookstand and rocker.

Not one of these things will attend my burial,
not even this dented goosenecked lamp
with its steady benediction of light,

though I could put worse things in my mind
than the image of it waddling across the cemetery
like an old servant, dragging the tail of its cord,
the small circle of mourners parting to make room.

2 comments:

Alon Perlman said...

A lot of universal symbolism there, even if we may not agree if it’s “remember your mortality” or “remember that you must die”.
Latin; Short and therefore cryptic.
I remember a friend who died recently, suddenly. It was my Skull on his desk (reproduction, my brain is still encased), that went missing in the chaos of departures. I inherited his favorite lamp, a dark carved muse, dancing, frozen in pose, with a thick black band circling the top of the lampshade. A black lace curtain that flapped around disorder, looking for a place to rest, then comfortably settled, completes the funerary image.

Sewertoons said...

Great poem Ann, thank you for putting it in today!

Nice to see you back Alon, you always post thoughtful words!