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  • By Bob Zisk

Elegy and Sequence for T.D.

Dark Current: for Terry, Who Died on May 9, 2023

Nuestras vidas son los ríos

que van a dar en la mar que es la muerte...


Today the first crepe myrtle burns to white

On slender stems and languid, drooping sprays.

The sun's exsanguinating shower of light

Drains the soft, purple blooms. And as the days

Slide by, in their bright river of clear rays,

Rolling down to the wide, receptive sea --

The sea of death which harbors fierce ospreys

That snatch our terminal mortality --

We are swallowed in that mystery

Of ineluctable extinction, death

Which rides dark rhythms of eternity

And swallows life's last rattling burst of breath.


Malae Tenebrae Orci: Wicked Shades of Death

Now I lay me down to sleep --

Soon I too will enter Hell's keep..

Five days ago, as the Sky cried,

Word came to me: Terry had died.

Here, in the mountains, it was cold

And damp, and I was feeling old.

I was two years older than her,

Yet only I heard mid-Spring stir

Through pale cloth of stifled pain

And solitary drops of rain,

For she lay elsewhere, on her bed,

One moment alive, and the next dead.

The earth moved on through shower and breeze.

Soon the day of obsequies

Had come and passed, and through the night

She vanished in the horned moon's light.


Time's Completion: for T.D.

The days are passing quickly, nights

Are populated with slow flights

Of disjointed images,

And fossils of time's dried up seas.

Two weeks ago you were soft flesh,

And in the early morning fresh

Buds of sweet-scented, blooming May

Opened and closed with the gasping day.

As your body broke with the strain,

And shortening time yielded to pain,

Your heart and lungs began to fail,

And soon you met your solemn bale.


First Flowers Fading

Dark hyacinths quiver and fade,

And with them, in the mist

That follows dawn, aphids parade

On the pink rose's breast.

This was your last sweet blossomed May,

When violets blew a kiss,

When dimness cloaked you as you lay,

And death sealed your dry lips.

Epigraph: Jorge Manrique, Coplas por La Muerte de su Padre. Our lives are the rivers which flow into the sea which is death.

Bob Zisk is retired and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his wife, Chamchun. His academic training was in Classical and Medieval Langauges and Literature, and Philosophy. He was Director of Technical Services for NYC's Division of Homeless Housing Development and sat on the agency's Design Review Committee. He has written grants for community based housing organizations, and has taught planning and zoning issues, building stabilization, and construction contract management. He has also taught World Religions and Classical Languages and Literature. He has been published in Lucid Rhythms, Quarterly Journal of Undiscovered Poets, Better than Starbucks, Asses of Parnassus, Vates, Snakeskin, The Hypertexts,  and The Lyric.

1 Comment

Jun 09

The poems eloquently convey your pain over the loss of a loved one. Did you write them first in English, or in Spanish?

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