W. Booth’s last letter from Zekiah Marsh, C. 1865

Because the trees are disconsolate and waver

with moaning, like lyres Shakespeare wrote of

because it is April and spring begins

to reach into deepest cells

of this leg that burns incessant, arms weakened, there

are no flowers I can lug to your hearse or poem

I can write as Whitman, because no matters how long

threnodies are, or sentences, they will not arrive

at any truth

He knew one day and adversary would knock and

dispense him to a darkness, black as his stovepipe and suit, hair

shoes, yes like lyres, those trees lament and frog sings

over black miles

as this pain gouges, and I draw from this silence

what I want to say and these words will have to do.

(a beggar’s loom – Mansfield press)

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