Poem With Allusions
The thoughts that come on little cat feet
aren’t mine, of course.
I’m prey to everything they’ve said,
and half believe in heaven and its hymns.
I’ve made my way through Chapman’s Homer
and watched my hands, like ragged claws,
crawl over you at night.
You didn’t seem to mind.
You’ve read a lot and heard a lot.
We all have, dear.
We don’t know who said what to whom
or why or when. The faces in the metro
look the same, each having been
through birth and copulation, even death itself.
I’d not thought death undid so many.
In country churchyards on the mossy stones,
their epitaphs may not impress the critics,
but they won’t much care.
Jay Parini, poet, essayist, and novelist, is the author of Why Poetry Matters, and is a regular contributor to many journals and newspapers. His novel The Last Station was recently adapted into a film. Recent books include Robert Frost: A Life and The Art of Subtraction: New and Selected Poems.