Don’t Write Elegies - Believer Magazine
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Don’t Write Elegies

by Edward Hirsch
Illustration by Chris Russell

Don’t Write Elegies

Edward Hirsch
14 Snaps

Don’t write elegies

anymore, let someone else

stumble past the mausoleum

and grieve

under the calm shade

of a plane tree, wiping away

the tears of his ex-wife,

staining the knees of his black suit,

first sobbing, then choking back sobs,

comforting others, consoling himself

by scrubbing the white stone

and weeding the plot

year after year,

I’m sorry, it’s too sad, it’s time

for someone else to mourn

my dead,

though who else can do it?,

I just need to lie here

a while longer

face down in the soil

and then get up and breathe.




This poem is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

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