Poets’ Epitaphs (circa 1995)

Yeats dreamed of his final bed

Under bare Ben Bulben’s head

Viewing this life’s transience

Coldly, with insouciance.

Rupert Brooke was forced to yield,

Cornered in a foreign field,

And under heaven’s starry dome,

The hunter Stevenson is home.

Those who follow glory’s path

Or favour the domestic hearth

Are bound at last like Thomas Gray

To hear the knell at parting day.

Tennyson sailed out to sea,

Born forth to eternity,

Following the evening star

Noiselessly across the bar.

In Paris at Wilde’s sphinx-like tomb

The peace of death dispels life’s gloom

And still the visitors return

To weep into the broken urn.

When the stone is carved for me

Find some words of piety

Likely found within a psalm

Not of sorrow but of calm

And next to David I will lie

Just like in life, in time gone by.