Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Didactic On The Cruelty Of An Old Friend


By the uneven tongue taught, from the fraught
wound torn, through hot and cold slow scenes,
the drumbeats in your blood have brought
the anger-stone, the emptiness, the thorn.

For what waste-hope
did the small sister pray?
By what deep way
did she fall, turn, sway,

that you should be now, as before,
this heedless, thrashing beast;
be imprisoned in the vein now,
denied the human feast?

Toward what end these ruined moments
you produce when the pillared fires
rise in fierceness,
burning the flesh from our eyes?

Now when will meet the hands held back
by hope-in-careless-tears,
where touch the hearts charred black,
turned back, by flaming blood and swift drumbeats?

The pulse that takes the dart beats slowly
in the still, torn breast,
in the small sister's heart--and I am torn
in two to see your love worn down to this.

By the untaught tongue unleashed,
from the caught tongue's ire,
from the birth to the kiss to the wire:
your life is artful anger,
slow death played out in scenes.

For what waste-hope
dare the small sister pray?
By what dark way
will she fall, turn, sway?

In the still, worn beating
of my sister's heart I hear
words still fraught with love
for you, hopeless words of love,

and that will be, I think,
when they screw our coffins down,
what turns the screws the tightest
as your soul goes down.

4th draft: 02/22/03
©1983 Ronald C. Southern

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Abandon hope, all ye who enter here! (At least put on your socks and pants.)