Three Sonnets

Phillip A. Ellis


The poet's dead: the summer wind is sere
   off of the desert. Wither, grass and tree
   within this crisping wind, and mayhaps we
who gather close to remember him will near
some state of grateful peace. The wind may die
   in time, to turn to other quarters, change
   by night--the gulfs between are dark, we range
from star to star by sight in dream and lie,

but the past live still within our hearts,
   perhaps. Who knows? The dead rturn to toil
   within the souls of living hearts that breathe
the sum of strange, unearthly-natured arts,
   perhaps. Who knows who hates this world, its moil,
   the crisping winds, the need to needlessly grieve.


The poet's dead at last, the voice is still
   forever. Never may we say we know
   his heart alike our own. The echoes flow
to die at last to silence; silence will
remain his monument, grave. Cease to say
   his mortal name: he'll come no more to call,
   and silence falls forever holy, falls
like night and ice on life, which drifts away.

Listen, the echoes dim at last. They fail.
   Why fight the night? Why turn to take the side
   of fleeting breath till death at last? Why try
to say no justice lives, why try to rail
   against injustice? None exists. The tide
   has flowed, it ebbs forever, for all die.


The summer wind is sere in mourning, wild
   with the grief of gods, dry with the heat of death
   whose breath decays, and glance breaks down. Whose breath
is scorpion, snake, pain. No man nor child
nor woman lasts past this, the wind is dry
   as breath of desert demons, shrieking shrill
   with wordless voices, ever fierce and ill
of heart. For all fail, fade, decay, all die.

Shall we thus mourn? Mayhaps. We shall not mourn
   for those we knew not, nor loved; those we hate
   shall be mourned, say, with fitting rituals never:
shall we thus mourn? Mayhaps. All hearts were

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