Poetry and Overdue Books

Today I re-read Rilke's Duino Elegies, not because I especially wanted or needed to, but because I really needed to reaturn it to the library before I go back to Killam for the reast of the week.

So, I read the first stanza of "the First Elegy" and I thought about breathing, and I read "the Eight Elegy" and started reading about death, and I wrote this poem.

Audacious Breath

The eleventh hour; time is running short
but what to do, what to say, how to live, how to be,
when so soon I will not?

One last moan for stolen life
and unquenchable despair?
One last laugh at selfish pride
and opportunities squandered?
One last curse, in defiance of God and Man
and all the corrupt powers of the world?

No,
one final breath.

Partaking one more lungful
of Man and Beast,
forest moss and desert grains,
Arctic frost and ocean spray,
one last communion,
one final transubstantiation,
mingling earth and air and body and blood
inside this fragile vessel;
and then I give it all back.


I wonder how many other poets are inspired by overdue books?

1 comment:

Imoan said...

Nice. It is tempting to interpret this poem through the eyes of the procrastinator, for e.g. the night before an exam. Would that be slaughtering it?