denial of mortality ceases at undeniable news

we screamed against the coming of the night
our howls blending into a chorus of life
righteous beauty rained on and sparkling bright
in the failing light of waning afternoon
and then the gloaming the sunset the song
sung sad of day dead at night’s glorious
hand . . . sudden came the darkness though only
perhaps seeming sudden from the dying light

agog we stared as the distant stars took up
our song to sing night alive. fear assuaged
we took up the halting dance of one seeing
only vaguely and vaguely understanding
until jubilant faith replaced fear and we
came to accept transition as a gift.

david m pitchford
26 feb 2014


Bobby Prays

small town nebraska 1972

young boy severed of his fond affections
prays to a concept he not understands
—God, be God—
he prays tears burn streaking his dirty face
—we all need you sometimes
be real oh, God, be real
and if not, if not, God,
create Yourself, God
because You are God, God
and can do anything! be real—

his heaven shakes
lash-bruised body quakes
as he draws yet another
pain-wracked breath
in a life short but filled
with oxygen-starved breaths
and some natural tenderness
he cannot name
mother’s love . . .

God, be real
or create Yourself, God
he prays on bruised knees

David M Pitchford
11 Feb 2014

You and I That Final Day in Pompeii

it was the way you danced that tragic day
hell falling on Pompeii as we choked down
lungfuls of brimstone inspiration hot
as Pluto’s lust for Persephone and
just as corrupt.          we watched the townsfolk run
hither and yon for shelter,   our mockery
chasing them like demons of falling stone
though powerless to move any but ourselves
to laughter.          cool water of our tears running
to muck the ash our faces would become.
what joy to know the day of one’s death!          we
danced against the dying of the music,
exultant ironic in the knowledge
ash would preserve our art forevermore.

David M Pitchford
20 September 2012

What Remains

brought back from oblivion’s brink by your
attention, by your passion, that furtive
motion of your lips, tongue, kissing these words,
reciting lines of what was long ago
written preparatory to the poet’s
fall from life into some mystery deeper,
more unfathomable than our best minds
have yet elucidated  .  .  .  perhaps,

unless death for us is what it seems, just
the passing of life forever into
oblivion’s cold reach, only these lines
and some recycled energies, carbon
compounds and water spilt back into earth
remains by the first law of thermodynamics . . .

David M Pitchford
8 Nov 2011

The Foil-gilded Chain

Letting It All Fall Away

It’s a matter of living day by day:
embracing the now, dumping this baggage
salvaged from seasons past, exile’s luggage,
heavy loads—letting it all fall away
for the sake of living life day to day,
stowaway on Life’s ferry—no passage
but the willingness . . . no need for courage
or remorse. Letting it all fall away.

Encumbrance of the past weighs too heavy,
an anchor tied with a foil-gilded chain
to memory, fault, failures, guilts that go on,
and unrealized potential heavy
as lead and precious as gold—and as pain—
Let it all fall away now; life goes on.

David M Pitchford
24 November 2009

A nod to Nietzsche

Nodding to Nietzsche

They say that god is love: yes, then, Nietzsche,
god is dead. Its bloated corpse is my heart—
my mouth and stomach fill with these buzzing,
stinking maggots and mind crawling, creeping,
lurching in broken swirls of worms and roaches
eating the carrion of my thoughts and
feasting on dead idealism and
corrupted vows—corpses of guardians
slain beside their dead god, angels dancing
no longer on the pin’s head, but rotting
in the fetid stench of human frailty
and failed faith. Yet death feeds life. It cycles
in apotheosis even stone dead.
As maggots become flies, so love’s death bears hope.

David M Pitchford
21 July 2009