Deep Shade

1.

Every garden should keep a grave,
……….A mortal seed below
The weeds and grass, beds of tulips,
……….A force that might bestow
A nutrient putrefaction
……….For those on top that grow:

A household cat, wrapped up in a towel,
……….An odoriferous
Shape shrinking each year, or goldfish
……….Becoming glutinous
In shade of boughs that overhang
……….To keep the sun from us.

2.

A beloved family dog,
……….A once magnificent horse,
A hamster in a jewelry box,
……….The things that lost their force,
Any sort of heart-stilled creature
……….Returning to its source.

3.

Some clouds will splash the yard. Some gusts
……….Will move the apple tree,
And spread the light that turns all day
……….In patches slipping free
Like thoughts that fail to find a shape.
……….I really should not try

To understand the end, and neither
……….Should you—and why would we?—
I fear we may have leaned enough
……….On love and come to see
That strengths on which we now depend
……….Will someday cease to be.

4.

The songs we work to memorize
……….Will finally disperse
Until they’re noise, then silence.
……….No song that we rehearse
Can slow the universal decline
……….That nothing can reverse.

5.

Could it be that love and death are roots,
……….Together feeling for
A reservoir to drink, to find
……….A saving drop or spore,
Some sustenance beneath the earth,
……….A nourishment; or

Are they really branches ramified
……….Further into smaller
Twigs, sending down their fruits,
……….Growing ever taller,
Ever higher from the body
……….Dwindling in its collar?

Ernest Hilbert

Ernest Hilbert

Ernest Hilbert is the author of four collections of poetry, Sixty Sonnets (2009), All of You on the Good Earth (2013), Caligulan (2015), winner of the Poets' Prize, and Last One Out (2019). He lives in Philadelphia where he works as a rare book dealer.
Ernest Hilbert

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Author: Ernest Hilbert

Ernest Hilbert is the author of four collections of poetry, Sixty Sonnets (2009), All of You on the Good Earth (2013), Caligulan (2015), winner of the Poets' Prize, and Last One Out (2019). He lives in Philadelphia where he works as a rare book dealer.