Thursday, March 5, 2015

In the House of the Dead

(Inspired, I believe, by a scene in George MacDonald's Lilith, if I recall aright.)

I saw, as it were, a table
laid sumptuous with meat and wine,
to slither over teeth
and out and down
another crimson stain upon the floor.
Every place had its setting
of silver unmarred,
bright at end of meal as before
use betrayed alone by clicking grasp.
The beds are turned, downy with dust,
for bones are cold always,
what warmth here to retain?
It is cold,
and cut crystal dazzles moonlight argent on the scene
of the feast of the dead.

Can these bones live?
Nay, rather, can they rest?
for their deeds follow after,
and finery is futile in the face of decay
where famine follows hard on feast
and hunger gnaws the bones.

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