WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A LITTLE MAN DIES


What happens when a little man dies
And no worlds wait upon a word
But death by doctrine is assured
As softly as we measure the dead.

What happens when a little man dies
And time and infirm infinites
Package and parcel and label him
Neatly on a dark and somewhat night.

What happens when a little man dies
And time has lost its tenderness
And the body without benefit of beauty is
To its last loneliness lowered.

Lord my God
through we look
Deep
We see
Feel
The dull dead
Thud of earth
Clutch at the indifferent wood,
Gasp at the sudden bells
Clanging across the graves
Exploding all covenants
Revoking all applications,
Three peremptory
Commanding bells
Tolling reverberating
Summoning us back home
To Jerusalem and to Rome.

Lord my God
Of antique canticles and candalbra
Or unkept covenants
Friable fervors
Revoked applications
And infinite infirmities
Know that
We who would be tough and sound
Await the unaccountable night
Measuring the memory and meaning
In the terror of our transience
But softly now no longer
On our knees no longer
Praying now no longer
And dying only once
Knowing now that the last descent
Is always made alone.