"The artistry of grief was clearly shown": Poetry by David Harrison Horton

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"The artistry of grief was clearly shown": Poetry by David Harrison Horton

Three Poems by David Harrison Horton

A Country Funeral (Cinquaine)

I’m writing about my mother’s funeral
to deflect
from my father’s imminent death.
It’s a futile exercise
and there is no comfort.

I studied philosophy
to brace myself
for this very thing.
I hollowed out a hole
to fill with grief.

You put the ashes
in an urn,
and the urn
into the ground,
and it’s done.

The parish gather round
with their baked goods
pot luck and condolences,
while you stare vaguely
at the trees on the next hill.


A Country Funeral (Epistle)

Mr. Lusk:

Well, the grande dame
is in the ground,
and the world
is worse without her.

Everything was religious
and dry.
I had a suit made
for the occasion.

I hadn’t been back to these hills
for decades.
Hairstyles have changed,
but not the clothes.

And I feel that everything
is as it should be:
Somewhat sad,
but very still.

Mr. Horton


A Country Funeral (Ottava Rima)

At the wake, the pastor was on his phone
looking around the room, clocking time.
An old biddy that knew her well let out a moan
that proved a collective paradigm.
The artistry of grief was clearly shown
in choral cries that neared sublime:

A competition to enact hurt so fervent
that even the bored pastor became observant.


David Harrison Horton is a Beijing-based writer, artist, editor and curator. He is author of the chapbooks Pete Hoffman Days (Pinball) and BeiHai (Nanjing Poetry). His poetry has recently appeared in In Parentheses, swifts & slows, Spittoon and Otoliths, among others.

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