Dear Tombs

Dear Tombs, I do not see anything here but dust.

Dust, dust, dust and beyond your hollows

and pillars, some trees still clinging to the dust


that gives them nothing, not a swallow

of water in it, a good winter one with rain,

a bad winter the one they have just had, and the one to follow.


Dear Tombs, here is my sweat falling like rain

onto your dust, I am wet outside and in,

I have always imagined after my death my remains


turning to wetness inside the worms, and in

the jaws of the beetles, and disintegrating into the wet

dirt, but here the dead are all dust, dust in


the Tombs where they were laid, if any of their dust is left

and not long since blown across the island, out to sea,

into the air we choke on, in the cities, on the roads. Yet


here we stand, while the poets hand out poetry

and the bravest start going down the stairs,

their candles filling the shadows with a flickering light that we,


Dear Tombs, can hardly see by, while they seem dazzled by the glare

within you, raising their hands to block it out.

The wine bottles they pass around are shining, their hair


gleams, their eyes glow. “Poetry readings ought

only ever take place in tombs,” I hear an English academic just

ahead of me, in his soft jacket, adamantly state.