In Death Be Proud

In Death Be Proud
in all this heat
and without water
their color was retained

now at last they pass
from cellophane to sink from sink
to vase in glorious reds

and yellow eyes
to stand among the kitchen grays and chromes
beneath the six admiring eyes

days later the calendar is showing them
thrown down from lunch
to lie beneath new wine and old cheese pie

when colors fail and petals sag
when voices laugh from far above –
quick hands toss down a wine-soaked rag


pure sentiment.
even if the farmer’s steady knife
had missed you in his blooming field

your glory would be standing
amid the choppings
of your kind and day would yield

to witless wind and rimless rain
to palsy of some solitary
acres in a stranger’s mind.

no purpose but this container here
no strength but what,
this once, for sure, you know.

There is no color but what you carry into woe
no will against the headlong hour
no choice but to refuse gray deathless fear

no prize but standing at attention now./p>