Self Pity

by Rod McKuen

Spring has never seen
this country,
where lilac root stays frozen, cold.
And monotonous river rolls
And runs and rolls some more.
No birds fly here,
none will.
No fox will chase his rabbit down
pinning him to the frozen ground..
Not even cloud will come to cover
the grey that stays on grey.
And when the universe has turned
upon itself
this place will still be waiting here.
Challenging nothing.
Changing nothing.
Doing nothing for itself.

Not creeping ivy or thistledown
has found this piece of land
and stayed,
where evening is the rule
and not the welcome home.

No scholar comes to study here.
How much frozen solitude can be
set down in even alien country?

When darkness falls it falls forever,
over the homestead, over the sea.
An overwhelming desolation spreads
hinted death, destroying the breath
of branch and bone.
Awesome the silence,
appalling the gloom
that crowds this once wide land
into single room.

Do not come here by mistake
or by design.
The highway in is easy enough
to find, but the road away
is a tangled maze
that turns the days to year,
the year to decade and beyond.

Swans will not go swimming
here, nor cattle feed, nor sparrows
breed and populate.

This is no resting place. It is
a place of empty nests picked
clean, ruins that reverberate
down centuries gone and yet
to come.

Fallen angels manage
to avoid dropping in upon these
acres, never green.
Nothing perishes, germ or grain.
only different shades of decay
distinguish rock from harder place.

But if the ear could hear it,
pick it up,
the language practiced would be
made of layered mould. Odd times
when the wind is right
you can hear the nails
being driven home.

Last updated March 31, 2023