Kenneth Slessor

(27 March 1901 – 30 June 1971 / Orange, New South Wales)

Burying Friends - Poem by Kenneth Slessor

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BURYING friends is not a pomp,
Not, indeed, Roman:
Lacking the monument,
Heroic stone;
Nor is it an obscuring parasol,
The pad of customary gloves and cries
And a black leather mourning-carriage
Hung between death and the beholder's eyes.
This little bin of cancelled flesh
Strode the earth once,
Rubbed against men—
But that's all done.
A gentle elegy, a tear or two,
May charm the grave-diggers, no doubt,
But nothing can count to these incongrous ruins.
Their commercial value is not worth speaking about.
Only it seems not a burial
Of irrelevant sods,
But a lopped member
From this my body;
Almost, in fact, a tiny amputation,
A paring of biography, thrown in there.
And he has thieved his own life away
And something from mine. Farewell, thou pilferer!


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 1, 2010

Poem Edited: Friday, November 18, 2011


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