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Syndic Literary Journal

Syndic No.43 ~ Slow Elegy

Slow Elegy (for Joan)

Written and Narrated by Dov Rose

Washington State

“While we’re young!” – popular saying

“Lente, lente, currite noctis equii!_ — Ovid


Strange now to think of you

alone in the dark

of a longtime home, your own

and his

over half a century—


while I was struggling from love to love,

b’ahava v’ahava as in the Israeli

cowboy ballad—

                                  your permanent home

permanent marriage, permanent honored

position – tapestry slowly unravelled

by the hidden hand

that unstrings all our c(h)ords

leaving us landless ghosts –


But let’s call a spade a spade,

a heart a heart, not in the language

of Shakespeare nor in that of Ovid

but in that of NYC,

of Allen G and Frank O’Hara and Gregory Corso

of David Ignatow and Enid Dame

and all the rest, the noble army

of poets, many martyred by their own hand

in this thankless country that does not

listen to poetry, so yes, let’s call it

like it is: your life and work, so much gift

for so many!  Saddened, impoverished

by a loss in the midst of becoming,


unbecoming the ugliness and violence

of loved ones taken over

by (un)natural forces, flown

to the ends of the earth

out of balance out of ideas

out of the means of loving

and the loving of means,

out out out! Yet with time to mourn—

to write the eulogies and epitaphs—

to replay, in the end,

the movie of you two and of the rest—

how you met, by what steps you joined,

your first fruits

brought forth together—


But the time has not yet come—

not yet the “once was” but still

“forever more about to be”—

So therefore let the others

“weave a circle round you thrice,”

celebrate you, your works and days,

celebrate him, that which once was—

with all the charged and charging rhythm of

the horses of the night!





Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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