No wonder we so love the dead. The living
are brittle, easily wounded,
petty, distracted by shadows,
ungrateful, obsessive, persistent,
needy, greedy, vain,
impulsive, wrapped in day’s opacity.
Better at resisting
wishes, the dead are patient,
Having skipped the jaws of appetite
as blithely as the pilot
who slipped the surly bonds of earth
they glide across the hours.
But that I see the dead
in peaceful places, in unhurried silence
doesn’t mean they’re never
hammering at the gates.
Rachel Hadas is co-editor of The Greek Poets (Norton)
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