Last Song

after Guiraut Riquier It’s for the best that I stop singing. Songs should come from happiness, and lately I’ve felt less and less inspired, with my horizon shrinking. When I recall my darkest days and contemplate a world ablaze and dread extinctions of tomorrow, who could wonder at my sorrow? My fire dwindled long ago. I rake the ashes, fitting muse for crafting esoteric blues from scraps of what I feel and know: at dusk, a woodcock on the wing tumbles into early spring, and yet in verse such things express a feeling of belatedness. These days, authorities dismiss the subtle circuitries of rhyme as relics of another time or quaint devices that persist on shelves of kitsch and curios. Why not attempt a work in prose — a memoir to mythologize my progress through a world of lies? We live with gaps, hypocrisies, and flights of happiness brought low, estranged from what we feel and know. As every instrument agrees, we live in seasons out of sync, a February on the brink of never, snow extinguishing the first magnolia blossoming. This dread has tainted everything: each dawn I come to consciousness in panic, prickles of distress, and clench my teeth. Why would I sing? Towhees still propose a slow familiar tune, but no words follow; this ache of feeling finds no phrase, no means by which to mourn or praise.

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