Yes I put her away.
But now life flares up
As safe as China in a cup
You hear the droppings
of her heart.
Leaves rustle on the windowpane.
Three o’clock turns round again.
The man in the moon grows full
Of her death while earth awaits
To receive her ashes on the wind.
Yes, earth owns the wind
As I her life
Whom I have never seen
Nor been with
Still within our hearts there lies
of all that dies
we held in common
because without it
we become more common than the dust.
Clay cannot create her features
nor mirror reveal her mouth
Photograph not show her form
full with self, so put away
her picture from the shelf
And turn instead to living
woman on the couch, decked with flowers
as if it were she laid out,
and not Sylvia, in the woods.
Tell her that may not rise again
she sings still in our breath.
Tell her that may not breathe again
she moves yet beneath the moon.
Tell her that may not weave again
her hands are dawns within our eyes.
Tell her that may not speak again
Her words are warnings in the wood.
John Wieners, "The Suicide" from Selected Poems, 1958-1984, published by Black Sparrow Books. Copyright © 1986 by John Wieners. Reprinted by permission of the John Wieners Literary Trust.
Source: Selected Poems, 1958-1984
(Black Sparrow Books, 1986)