Soft and supple flesh
      after T.S. Eliot

by Nicholas De Genova


bones flinty and brittle

and piled in chalky heaps

like the charred remains

of cheery autumn bonfires

like the ghastly mementos

of solemn ancestral pyres

the fragile testament

to our earthly folly


cinders ashen but orange underneath

encrusted grey and dusty

diminutive, disarming

still wickedness smolders there

lying stealthily in wait

with quiet indignation

with the patience of a wolf

in a wintry desolation


bones discarded, disregarded

cool embers burning still

oily soot of dearly departed

consumed in ovens, and then

neatly gathered

in earthen jars or decorative urns

but still the fire burns, it burns!

a shock of scarlet on throat well-lathered

the nagging insistence of blunted razors

belligerent reminder of our soft

and supple flesh


Bern, Switzerland
20 October 2009

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