Issue 82, Winter 1981
You used to be jealous of our old nurse
who sleeps, warm heart and all, beneath the sod.
We ought to bring her flowers, even so.
The dead, poor things, have sorrows of their own,
and when October comes and strips the trees
and hums its dismal tune among the graves,
how thankless we the living must appear,
sleeping as we do in our warm beds
while they, subsiding into black despair,
without a bedmate or a joke to share,
worm-eaten skeletons, old and cold, endure
the constant seeping of the winter snows,
the passage of the years, and not one soul
to change the withered wreaths on rusty grilles...
When the log I put on the fire hisses and sings,
if should see her sitting there, quite still,
or if on some cold blue December night
I found her hovering in a corner of my room,
somehow escaping her eternal bed
to cast a motherly eye on her grown-up child,
what could I find to say to this pious soul
as I watched the tears filling her hollow eyes?