In Heaven the Dead
In heaven the dead write poems
for the dead; they are not celebrations
of the departed life,
to which they refer as “the dark time,”
amazed how it held them once.
The poems of the dead are gratuitous:
a light rain on a sunny day.
They need no metaphors: nothing
needs explaining in terms of something else
where everything is evidently itself.
The poems of the dead require
no analysis: they are not products
of imagination, that dim lantern mortals use
to illuminate obscurity.
The poems of the dead are never revised,
they simply occur like sunlight through leaves.
The dead write poems for the dead
in greeting, never farewell.
The dead write no poems for the living.
Let them, they say, sing their own songs;
let them weep tunefully for us,
as if death were something to lament.
Jim Chapson has recently had poems published in Jack London is Dead: Contemporary Euro-American Poetry of Hawai'i (Tinfish Press, 2013).