We always think that we have time to pay
that money will come in to pay each debt
each of our creditors somehow forget
what's due. And then arrives that dreadful day
that day of wrath when everything that's due
will be demanded of us, flesh and bone,
sinew and tendon. And the mind alone
stripped of all that is naked. What's to do
but keep some little back to warm the cold
quivering thought that's all that still remains,
in the grey mulch of our slow dying brains?
Prepare those dying moments now. Just hold
your lover tighter, savour on your tongue
hot pepper. And make art, now, while you're young.
We cannot bring them back. And yet we sing
or write of them we held but could not own
to honour them we claim, and lie, or moan
our loss aloud. We mourn, and cannot bring
them back. And our first father went to hell
and could not harrow it for her. He tried
and failed, and he looked back, and later died
all but his voice, which sang out like a bell
floating a severed head torn out of flesh.
We do not know the tortured song they heard,
his killers, maddened. Scream or piping bird,
angel or anguish. Music weaves its mesh
of sound from pain and joy, having and lack.
It's beautiful, but cannot bring them back.
We are all Orpheus. We try to get
back loves we lost. We fight our way through Hell
singing to our regrets. We might as well
accept that love is done, and just forget
because it is the act of looking back
that loses things. We know that they are lost
once they are past; getting them back would cost
all we have learned by losing. We would lack
that wisdom. Yet perhaps there is a way.
Live forward, and perhaps one day you'll meet
the person they became. Some random street
contains that meeting. Don't wait for that day
or hope for it. And if you recognize
your lost one, better reach out with closed eyes.
There's magic in the world. Or song at least,
a magic we can hear. Some can perform
it beautifully, others at least stay warm
lulled by it on cold nights. It tames the beast
outside the gate of Hell. It soothes the souls
in torment. It is structure torn from joy
and sadness. Some fear it will destroy
their will or anger or that it controls
their hearts too much,and stick wax in their ears.
And pity them, for all that they will lose.
And fear them too – without song they will choose
silence and absence, other people's tears.
So worship song. It helps us keep in mind
all other voices with ours intertwined.