Shedding

John Tucker



The wisest snake that grows can't help but grieve

(Though stronger, brighter in his colouring)

Familiar comfort of old tight sleeve,

Now lost, with soiled and brittle patterning.

Not worn dead skin, but inner ghosts I shed,

And in my shedding, greatest suffering;

Unwonted ghost of past illusion's dead.

No greater pain than lost awakening.

No greater joy than seeing world anew!

So for dead ghost we'll have an Irish wake

And bury him by Churchyard's poison Yew

And for his headstone this inscription make...

   Here lies poor hungry ghost; the more he fed,

   The more he starved; so he's most grateful dead.


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