The Death Masque

Poem By David SmithWhite

Funereal and abortive;
these hours of hypocrisy,
and the entertainment of death,
with life-affirming rites,
in the precise paying of the tribute,
and the cool relief of tears.

Here attitudes unmatter,
the raw, unfettered, material reason,
the dull symphony of guilt,
with a family of hard dependence,
and a cruel, conditioned love,
of martyred introspection.

Where platitudes shall flatter
the blood-dumb display of felt
and token feelings that coalesece,
as if to masquerade
as stiff, cosmetic grief,
congealed and ill at ease.

Just another soft slaughter,
in the sulking isolation
of sham and forced indifference.
Reserved and undeserving,
we assume the pallid fabric
of mute and fleeing distance.

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