Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Death of a Poet, an Appreciation

Death of a Poet—
                        for Wisława Szymborska

There’s a hole where you used to be.
No, that’s not quite right,
there’s a lot remaining—
in your poems’ wit and compassion,
and perhaps in your apartment—
shelves of books, well-worn pots,
dishes both cracked and shiny,
bedclothes, plants, a cat dish,
but all these objects will disperse
and roam to other places,
find other hearts or at least homes.
The memories of you remain with
your friends, your admirers
who knew you daily or never saw you once.
I don’t know your life, just the reflections
of it in your poems,
the bumblebee bumping the windowpane,
the soul that is there, as you said, sometimes
then vanishes when it’s time to do taxes
the percent of people who deserve compassion, 99,
who are mortal, 100.
There’s a hole where you used to be
you who had the nerve and generosity
to give us such fire and ice.
I hope to catch your spirit by the sleeve
before you leave entirely,
whisper Thank you.