moonlight is funereal
over a cemetery;
no mourning black,
breaking hearts with its sighs in passing,
but mere dim threat,
pale green in the misty air.
out of the verdance
shadows rise, slow and sullen
as piano notes
tolling the arrival of Death.
He does not come in monk’s guise,
sickle and bones aglint
with sinister implication.
No; this night he comes unhooded,
tuxedoed; caped and elegant
as a phantom from an opera box
called away by exigency
before the fat lady sang.
Doffing his top hat,
he sketches an ironic bow
to his guests,
wan and watchful
dressed in rags of their funeral best.
he commands them.
I will lead. You will follow.
Come walk with me.
Drear march! one foot
of clacking bones
before the other
empty sockets gather in the moonlight
and blaze all the colors
of an otherworldly rainbow,
frightening animals on the hunt
and the casual passerby
who runs to safety on his side of the veil
blathering of ghost lights in the graveyard
fireflies in colors the world has never seen
What is the point, pray tell,
of stalking the holy hours
until the sun touches a match to the eastern sky
and the processing dead lie down thankfully
and Death himself, in a fit of terror,
runs, a craven chased by laughing light.
Poem copyright 2012 by Faire Lewis.
Although I call it “Dead March” this poem was inspired by Frederic Chopin’s Funeral March in B-flat minor, here played by Artur Rubenstein.