The Sick Child (after W.H. Auden)
Ban every clock, exile the sundial,
then level the patch of morning glory.
Next, halt dusk, hush hellish owls.
Dam the tide. God damn its hurry.
Tear calendars from untimely walls.
Gag sobs, mute a sorrow, bequeathed.
Allow no bloom to wilt, let no petal fall.
Hide the good book. Chase off the priest.
Still, children willfully befriend death,.
They pity caregivers, afflictions endured:
blood on lips, the cost of each breath,
a small smile reddened by fading words.
Despair darkens this short afternoon.
Curse time. Eternity arrives, far too soon.
Cyndi MacMillan poetry has recently appeared in Grain Magazine and the Fieldstone Review. Her verse, short fiction and novel-in-progress resentfully compete for her attention. She lives in New Hamburg, Ontario, home to North America’s largest working water wheel. Coffee and family allow ideas to percolate.
This poem was written as part of the 20 Poem Challenge.
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