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Enemy of Death

 (For Rossana Sironi) 

You should not have
ripped out your image
taken from us, from the world,
a portion of beauty.
What can we do we enemies of death, bent to your feet of rose, your breast of violet? Not a word, not a scrap of your last day, a No to earth’s things, a No to our dull human record.
The sad moon in summer, the dragging anchor, took your dreams, hills, trees, light, waters, darkness, not dim thoughts but truths, severed from the mind that suddenly decided, time and all future evil.
Now you are shut behind heavy doors enemy of death.
Who cries? You have blown out beauty with a breath, torn her, dealt her the death-wound, without a tear for her insensate shadow’s spreading over us.
Destroyed solitude, and beauty, failed.
You have signalled into the dark, inscribed your name in air, your No to everything that crowds here and beyond the wind.
I know what you were looking for in your new dress.
I understand the unanswered question.
Neither for you nor us, a reply.
Oh, flowers and moss, Oh, enemy of death.

by Salvatore Quasimodo
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