When a Poet Passes — a poem

Paul-Laurence-Dunbar (2)

for Firestone Feinberg

Our plesance heir is all vane glory,
This fals warld is bot transitory,
The flesche is brukle, the Fend is sle;
Timor mortis conturbat me.

— William Dunbar
“Lament for the Makers”


His breath stopped
yet not his voice — it lives
within others and others to come.

Or perhaps it flies
on the Springtime wind
into the budding trees of May.

It will be heard
when leaves are full
green, or in Autumn’s dry whisper.

And, yes, even as Winter laughs
at our collective frailty.

The voice of a maker echoes
in protest, in pleasure — the shouts
of children at play;
of lovers at odds;
of those who wish to be heard
over the chaotic noise they have caged
within that sings, “The fear of death confounds me!”

His breath has stopped.
His voice has joined
the chorus of the makaris —

“I se that makaris amang the laif
Playis heir ther pageant, syne gois to graif;
Sparit is nocht ther faculte….”


8 thoughts on “When a Poet Passes — a poem

  1. I always learn a lot from your poems- had to look up the Dunbar poem & the makaris) and love how you wafted through the seasons as a circling eternity of nature and spirits
    ” Winter laughs
    at our collective frailty.” – what a line!!

    Liked by 1 person

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