The Collected Poems of Steve McRoberts
The Collected Poems of Steve McRoberts

On hearing of the death of a friend

Although I pay to hear it said
that life is full and hope is bright,
there's too much here that's gone or dead,
and I'm no God to set it right.

There are words I would say, by need.
Their burdens gladly I might bear
if only they would plant the seed
to wake me from this world's nightmare.

This heavy life's akin to sleep,
except that pain is always nigh,
and notlove flays and claws me deep
while gentle people have to die.

There are words I would say,
but I have challenged death before
and journeyed far on his broad way.
Yes, I have knocked on my tomb's door,
but no admittance did he yield.
So, should you love me right out loud:
I see this vast and withering field
of faces in a nameless crowd,
and horror cuts my eyes apart
to see them vanish in my place!
My tortured mind can't hear you heart
above each wasted, lonely face.

There are words I would say, by choice.
But they are words so bold and strong,
I'd need at least another voice
to sing them with me long and long.
I can't have such a one to love;
people die,
and, given all I've said above,
why don't I?

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