“Funeral Music,” Geoffrey Hill


from “Funeral Music” by Geoffrey Hill:


Not as we are but as we must appear,
Contractual ghosts of pity; not as we
Desire life but as they would have us live,
Set apart in timeless colloquy.
So it is required; so we bear witness,
Despite ourselves, to what is beyond us,
Each distant sphere of harmony forever
Poised, unanswerable. If it is without
Consequence when we vaunt and suffer, or
If it is not, all echoes are the same
In such eternity. Then tell me, love,
How that should comfort us—or anyone
Dragged half-unnerved out of this worldly place,
Crying to the end ‘I have not finished’.


(Sent to Truth Barrier editor Celia Farber by Mark Harris–thank you Mark.)


2 thoughts on ““Funeral Music,” Geoffrey Hill”

  1. I “met” you today on Caravan to Midnight, so I came to visit you here. I feel at home. Your banner sends me into that place where truth struggles to emerge from those things that seem unclear. I feel free to allow my own thoughts to continue the unending quest, like Jacob, wrestling with the Angel, I ask for clarity. I have no fear of death, only a dread of pain and of not knowing “Am I finished? Have I achieved the levels of love you tasked to me?” I’ve asked before, in my own dream… turned into a poem. Forgive me for taking the liberty of sharing it:


    Death came to my door
    So I bid him come in
    and I bared both my neck
    and my breast there to him.

    Oh, take me! I’m ready!
    You’ll find my neck tough
    from the burdens it bears
    and a life that’s been rough.

    Help yourself to my heart!
    It is quite empty though
    It was punctured and drained
    since a long time ago.

    Death looked in his book then
    He checked my address
    ‘Great Heavens!’ exclaimed
    ‘Vision’s slipping, I guess!’

    ‘I have the wrong address
    Never did that before.’
    Then he turned on his heel
    and walked back out the door.

    ‘Come back here you piker!
    Let me check your book!’
    So he handed it over
    and I took a long look.

    ‘This one is not ready
    Needs more of love’s labors.
    Just needs to ‘Buck Up’ some!
    Then Death strolled to the neighbor’s.

    © by B Gayle Dailey 11/29/2000

    1. B. Gayle Dailey, I have a poem I want to share with you. It will go up soon, here. Thank you for your warming words, and welcome!

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