Memorial Service

By George Garrett 1929–2008 George Garrett
Forgiving the living is hard
enough, shrugging away all the wounds
delivered with kisses and curses,
the thousand and one petty slights
that bled me to an albino shade,
that shadow me even in dreams.

But the dead are altogether
another matter, not easily to be
enlightened and quite beyond regretting
anything (as far as we can tell)
and most likely indifferent to
our common currency of tears.

And so it is that pissing on your grave
doesn't please me as much as it ought to.
Now that you have passed beyond
all blaming and shaming, what can I do
but rise and proclaim sincere admiration
when my turn comes around to speak?

Source: Poetry (July 2002).


This poem originally appeared in the July 2002 issue of Poetry magazine

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July 2002
 George  Garrett


A writer proficient in a variety of genres, mentor and teacher George Garrett was born in Orlando, Florida. He graduated from Princeton University in 1952 and served in the army as a field artillery sergeant in Trieste, Italy. After his service he earned an MA and a PhD, also from Princeton. The author of more than 40 books, he wrote nonfiction, novels, short stories, poetry, plays, and screenplays. His collections of poetry . . .

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Poems by George Garrett

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Friends & Enemies, Living, Humor & Satire, Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Death

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Alliteration, Assonance, Elegy

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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