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.