Saturday, December 10, 2005

He Stood Up Alone and Something Happened

Eugene Joseph McCarthy died at 6AM this morning. He laid his career on the line by being the first to challenge the Democratic party to choose peace or war in 1968. When last seen in the old folks home, McCarthy was read a Psalm or two by the Slangwhanger-in-Chief, who then went home and wrote this poem:

The withered poet sits
The weathered poet sits
In his old folks’ oaken chair
Pulling his elderly ear.

Muffled now the reasoned tongue;
The woven similies quietened
As the plow his grandfather wielded.

The weird poet sits
The wearied poet sits
Rooted to his chair
By the weight of his wisdom.

Poet and king, king and poet
He led the parti-colored tribes of the young
Along the stoniest of paths.

The wary poet sits
The war-spent poet sits
His fine mind turning over and over,
Meditating lines he will not say.

After the Fall of Man came the Flood;
After the Promised Land came the Diaspora;
After the Resurrection, Holy Mother Church...

The workaday poet sits
The well-tempered poet sits
Amid the shards of the world he sang
In the ruins of the land he did not lead.

And this his monument shall be:
A sense of time’s full etching
Down the river: a nameless gorge.

The worthy poet sits
The woe-freed poet sits
Awaiting his next exhalation
Whether poem, or power, or prayer.


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