Three For Cemetery Statues By The Atlantic, Falmouth, Massachusetts 1977 Poem by Warren Falcon

Three For Cemetery Statues By The Atlantic, Falmouth, Massachusetts 1977

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These three
being of stone
or steel...

Figure 1

An old woman, never married,
speaks among the dunes:

I am the older sister, and ugly.

I watch the sea by the wall,
yearn for each tide's return.

I walk the surf in all weather
and spend myself amidst

the sea wrack screaming
with the tern and the dove.

I count my white hairs by the
sea weighing each for love.

...wear your love, my sister.
Carry your breasts white and full
to his hands, the mouth of the sea.
Breathe deeply the salt sea air,
fill them each for his warm mouth to take...

I will taste brine
and fill each old breast
with sand.

I will taste brine
and fill them each,
each, with sand.

They fall deeply
into my ribs in
the windy dunes
soon, soon to be
swallowed by
the fish and the crab.

Figure 2

Looming over a family plot,
A figure of Biblical Cain:

Ground my face in the world's crotch
I'll never do though I wish it.
Closest I'll ever come be the day
I lay my thumbs beneath the dirt
and fish for an earthworm's eye.

Soft skin I'll never touch
'cept mine own hard flesh
with thumb-less caress.
What thigh shall ever be mine?
And no man lip touch, ever,
him I've slain,
nor womankind want,
I hate my mother's name.

To fold the soil or sever
muscle with the teeth, spit
seed to the wind or dribble
praises manfully down the cheek,
ah, heady sin! Tears!

The silt of September's enough!
Hard clay of October be bust!
A fist to the day's end,
black blade pierce the heart
if I cannot kiss you, oh Mud,
cannot push my face into
your belly moaning thick-
love of the world,
eating fossil and coal,
drinking ancient tar
and artesian melt-
if I cannot have it then
I have not known the Jehovah Man.
I have breathed salt for nothing,
taken all words for fool's
bedding, crushed them
like my brother, flung them
over fences, slain them
all to the last letter,
each a shattered stilt.

Even upon the word of my name
I bring down the stone.
But in vain. Each blow
cannot crush it. No end.
No prayer.

Black night descends.

The dark well screams

Figure 3

A scholar with a book sits
just within the cemetery gate:

And so, green statue with
your large hand on your book,
don't look so foolish
with snow on your head.

When did you last come
to sit beside the dogwood
growing a shadow over the dead?

Death is a deed.
Death is a clean sorrow.
It is natural to weep -

Even a waste basket in a cemetery.

Edward Kofi Louis 06 January 2019

'Death is a clean sorrow'! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.

1 0 Reply
Nimal Dunuhinga 23 December 2009

What a marvelous poem brother, you dig the grave deeper than a grave-digger. Death is a deed indeed as you said also a clean sorrow...........but no tears when others weep?

1 0 Reply
Warren Falcon

Warren Falcon

Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA
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