Dark Places

For Robin Williams, 63, and gone

Gone. And too soon, mister.

I have left my seminarians spilling the seeds
of their unknowing, and there, in the dark recesses

of what we can offer to the dead is the life
we need to lead. We sought the unlit chambers too,
defying what can be defied, like lights out

and the sound of footsteps of patrolling priests

both living and dead. These are the moral police
in formation centers, you see, and by the looks
of it, those who come into their keeping,

its walls unseeing and unhearing, punish

those who can chant so well, singing alleluia
to those who can laugh the loudest

when anathema sit is said, as if, in between
words of sadness joy comes as a consequence.
No, no, sir. The dark places are fearsome,

and there are no rules for staying there,

nothing that teaches one where to enter
and then to leave unscathed.

You said of the greatness of the men on the walls,
all masculine, their faces grim, their eyes
used to scan the world glass eyes of nothing.

Seize the day, you said.

Carpe diem, my students said.
And then we all laughed to say the same lines

so said, like the dead poets are not better
than the living ones, even those who suffer
for scribbling a sorrowing line or two.


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