Lamentation: An Ambiguity to Make Us Laugh


Really, this just won’t do––

Silence in the face of such grave undoing.

You, who had a gracious word for all things inexplicable.

Where is your rage?

Or, was this your highest ambition, too?

One you neither sought nor fought

Accepting this as the ultimate meaning of life?  


Life––

Now there’s an ambiguity

to make us laugh, and weep!


Put up your Sanskit, Quron, Torah, Holy books 

Close down your Locke, your Marx, your Burke

Silence your Kant, Kirkegaard, Spinoza

Leave Jefferson undisturbed

and Lincoln to his rest

Shut up your Bard

Silence all the players of Waterloo

Silence if you may, the angels, too

Put up your testaments

Speak not of gods and men.


Some truths are much too hard to know 

Some words too harsh to speak

Some pain too livid to repent.


What, have you no answers?

Then let us answer to you. You, who were 

Mercury, our winged morning star,

Venus, our brilliant evening lode, 

Polaris, our centre of dead reckoning.


There! I spoke the dreaded word.

Dead, reckoning to live again. No––

Still life in death, you said.

What life is it that abides alone?


Gone now to wood

those fingers, gentle to the touch

Frozen to plastic lips 

that kissed, tasted water, spoke care

smiled love into our days.


The space once occupied with grace is hollow now

The minds now occupied with you are grieved

Your spirit, gone, occupies us yet.

 © Philip Knight 2018