W.F. Lantry


"Yesterday this day's madness did prepare..."
-The Rubaiyat

Because I limp from an old hurt, because
my shoulder's not quite healed from a blow
I suffered long ago, I bear with me
the records of archaic wounds, and wrap
sometimes those songs around me, till they seem
the only things that hold me up. And yet

they're compasses, or guides along this path,
heroic Dante on his long descent
was guided by another, held his robes-
even the trickster clutched a golden bough
among the shades. What voyagers approved
why should I find unworthy? Parchment may

as well be spread upon the winter's ground
for a warm rest, and keeps away the wind;
and this is all our fate: kind Sappho's warmth
was used to wrap Egyptian mummies- may
our frail words be found by accident
and bind some future's painful wound as well.