Originally published in Theory of Flight (1935)
We set great wreaths of brightness on the graves of the passionate
who required tribute of hot July flowers :
for you, O brittle-hearted, we bring offering
remembering how your wrists were thin and your delicate bones
not yet braced for conquering.
The sharp cries of ghost-boys are keen above the meadows,
the little girls continue graceful and wondering;
flickering evening on the lakes recalls those young
heirs whose developing years have sunk to earth
their strength not tested, their praise unsung.
Weave grasses for their childhood: : who will never see
love or disaster or take sides against decay
balancing the choices of maturity;
silent and coffin’d in silence while we pass
loud in defiance of death, the helpless lie.
(c) Muriel Rukeyser