By Albert Goldbarth b. 1948 Albert Goldbarth
It's the other ones, who soon enough return   
to being happy after the funeral, that are nearest   
to their own deaths—in their gaiety   
and everyday distraction, they're so open   

and unguarded . . . anything could enter them;   
could claim them. It's the ones who weep   
incessantly that are saved for now, the ones   
who have taken a little of it   

into their systems: this is how   
inoculation works. And sorrow is difficult,   
a job: it requires time to complete.   
And the tears?—the salt   

of the folk saying,   
that gets sprinkled over the tail feathers   
and keeps a bird from flying;   
keeps it stationed in this world.

Source: Poetry (January 2001).


This poem originally appeared in the January 2001 issue of Poetry magazine

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January 2001
 Albert  Goldbarth


Acclaimed for its dense, expansive form and linguistic energy, Albert Goldbarth’s poetry covers everything from historical and scientific concerns to private and ordinary matters. His numerous, highly-regarded collections are often filled with long poems which range in style from playful and conversational to serious and philosophical. Goldbarth’s unique style is a mix of complex ideas and detailed descriptions woven together . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Death

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Metaphor

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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