“Funeral Music,” Geoffrey Hill

from “Funeral Music” by Geoffrey Hill:

8

Not as we are but as we must appear,
Contractual ghosts of pity; not as we
Desire life but as they would have us live,
Set apart in timeless colloquy.
So it is required; so we bear witness,
Despite ourselves, to what is beyond us,
Each distant sphere of harmony forever
Poised, unanswerable. If it is without
Consequence when we vaunt and suffer, or
If it is not, all echoes are the same
In such eternity. Then tell me, love,
How that should comfort us—or anyone
Dragged half-unnerved out of this worldly place,
Crying to the end ‘I have not finished’.

 

(Sent to Truth Barrier editor Celia Farber by Mark Harris–thank you Mark.)

 

Before The End Of Feelings

 

A Moment

 

 

The field where my brother died–

I’ve walked there since.

Weeds and grasses, some chicory

stalks; no trace of the scene

I can still see: a father

and his sons bent above a deer they’d shot,

then screams and shouts.

 

Always I arrive too late

to take the rifle

from the boy I was,

too late to warn him

of what he can’t imagine:

how quickly people vanish;

how one moment you’re standing

shoulder to shoulder,

the next you’re alone in a field.

–Gregory Orr