Hasty Pudding

Stanley Moss


On a road leading to where I used to live,
thoughts go back to friends who would visit,
most now are in places quite exquisite,
where it is better to receive than to give,
where every night and every morning
is for no thanks on Thanksgiving.
My friends thanked bees for buttercups.
Dandelions and buttercups
taught them to go on living,
be numerous, singular everywhere,
better to be here than elsewhere.
Friends sang the blues,
some passed on, are almost forgotten,
some wrote books I and others use.
(Goya buried five of his six children.)
Workers and idle readers, creatures of the den,
did what they could not and what they could.
In hard times they did good
that helps me and others every day.
Some kisses are not wiped away—
some kissed on the cheek, some on the mouth,
some way down south.
Undone, I will never be remade,
life has shadows, but not death.
I will never be a shade
strolling above or beneath the earth.
I’m tired of rhyming death and breath.

Thank you, Doctor Freud,
for teaching about
hasty nightmares: I found out
I played with ladies who toyed
with me. I was seldom disenchanted,
I thanked God for the gift of trees I planted.
If I ever told the truth, I’ve not recanted.
It’s true, I’ve looked too much for rhymes,
and such like. No one looks for a rhyme
for his or her last words. Rhymes
are out of mind when dying—
there is a little crying,
nothing is for fun.
Pardon, I wrote this for fun,
always under the gun.

image: Sandro Botticelli, La Carte de l’Enfer, (between 1480 and 1490)