He rose from the bed, the beloved was dead,
He sank down stairs to an empty street.
He leaned against a bowing post.
He hid beneath a drooping eave.
The door behind he left ajar
In hope that someone passing by
Would see it gape and call for help,
And climbing find her silent, still,
And finding, care, and maybe weep.
His head was full of masking noise,
He spoke aloud to hear himself:
"What now, what now, what's left is lost,
The world has changed, the world is less,
What is this place, what’s left to see,
And who could live in such a husk?
The world is dead, its heart is stopped,
Its breath is choked, its eyes are dull,
And we who live are left as worms,
Worms in the world, we pierce and gnaw.
We feed in the dark, and worse than worms
We know just what and who we eat.
The world is dead, I will not live.
Not here, like this, not one of those
Who drink to wash their gory mouths,
Who watch to dream the world that was.
I beg whoever has the strength
To pluck me up and crush me now
To take me from this heedless world
Or else remake the world anew,
Reborn in sorrow, tears for blood.
I will not live to lose the pain
She left behind for me to keep.
If I go on in this dark place
In time I cannot but forget.
I won’t forget, so end me now,
Or make the world her monument."
What heard him then, what had no name
Was more than man and less than god,
With power and pity, and listening.
It knew these words, it knew them well,
It lived their pith, it had its place
To check their strength to save the world.
So many griefs like this denied,
But not this time. It stayed its strength
To let this grief flow over, flow
And sink the world, and make it new.
O is that the sun that flickers so,
Are those the clouds, they’re made of glass,
They drop a rain of grit and shards.
What walls are these, they have no doors.
What streets are these, they go nowhere.
Was this a church that is her tomb,
She has so many tombs, and we
We need them all, where we may shed
Our burning tears on stone, and trap
Their heat in wicks, and keep them near
To keep us warm, who sit in pews
In silent ranks, with burned-out eyes,
Waiting for sleep that never comes.
O You who bind the strength of grief
O leave us here, we know her now
We love her too.