Requiem

Dull the cry of the dying night,
Whose enemies by dawn’s light plot
The mourning after the nightmare before.
Death is preached a means to birth,
Or at least an end to this,
This grieving sport that grows upon,
And dwarfs, indeed, the age it seeds,
Life’s water-rich and thornless stem.

No shade of origin can we claim
Nor would if we but had the means;
My melting kingdom could not contain
Each vanishing theft and soul trespass.
Loose I my voice to call upon
All men, to whom I turn, with such
Cacophonous sighs and crookéd smiles.
Ever from the lightning glance I cast
Retreat you in your wanton weave,
Footsteps fleeing to veils of prayer.

Interred within the mausoleum
Of their intimacy, the lovers who
Count you among their number learn
That they may lose anew.
Did ever such a fate befall,
And in such immeasurable memory,
Any but the cruellest of our kind?
Should you not, you say, be sailed across
The scything sea, storm-blind and burned
For nothing more than craving
The cauldron of another’s kiss.

Glad the willing shall this time be,
For their endeavour serves to stand
An example of the ingenuity
Possessed we then, a dream ago;
Lies now abed a graveward sea
Unbuttoned from the tightened sky,
Unmanned but for the misers counting
The sand upon contracted shores;
Cinders of the vibrating sun.

by James Whitworth

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