Friday, June 15, 2007

432. Community - Sally Roberts Jones

(Mr. Rogers, buried April 26, 1972)

There has been a death in the street.
Drawn curtains, collection for wreaths ––
The historians call it Cymortha,
Assume that it vanished
In the stream of industrial birth.

We're the size of a village: forty houses,
A shop. Over fences the women gossip,
Watch weddings and growings –– observe
The proper and ritual tact
Of those who must live with their kin.

No blood ties, it's true; our bonds
Are accent and place –– and desire
For much the same ends. We are not
Political animals; held
An Investiture feast for the children,

And praised all that pomp. On Sundays
Expediency pegs out the washing:
If God is not mocked–– well, He knows us ––
I suppose it was like this before
When Piety lay in the clouds, and oncoming thunder.

There has been a death in the street;
We are less by that much. Statistics
Cannot say what we lose, what we give:
Questionnaires for the Welfare Department
Tell industrious lies.

We adapt. To the chimneys, the concrete,
The furnace, the smoke, the dead trees.
Our fields are the names of roadways,
Our flocks and our language are gone:
But we hold our diminished city in the face of the sun.

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