by phillipmedhurst


I leave these frail and perishable leaves;

To rot just where they fall. The seed I’ve sown

And you take to the mould, perhaps may rise;

Although what fruit to bear I cannot say.

And as for me, who made this papyrus

To lay my aching head on bed of reeds,


Will I – in crumbling cradle quietly

Asleep, my pains all parked and epitaphed

Outside that trench dug deep to shield my shell

Against all shocks – will I unready then

Grow tongue to shape a curse on that grim Day

When an archangel’s voice might bellow down


Into my inert den? Will I be born

Again, the life-force thawing my cold blood,

Its swell conveying me to God knows where?

For, “He who dies acquitted is of sin”,

The apostle says; but at this threatened doom,

My breath must state my case, accountable.


That case is this: I hope my wanton flesh

Did not degrade the hopes I here expressed . . . . . .

I hope my leaves heal you before they die,

As though from Tree of Life, and in our mould

Which harbours many seeds, I hope what is

Sown here will one day sprout to bear bright fruits


As beautiful as gems; and if the “will”

Of what will be’s replaced by “should”, then let

Unmade, thus made again, be all made good.

If here you find the truth of what we are

Well-charactered, then of your charity

As well as for yourself, now pray for me.