Words are for those with promises to keep.
– W. H. Auden (“Their Lonely Betters”)
No better than what we say we’ll do,
our words, our bond with gods and you
that only death may overlook—
unless you print them in a book
of poetry. O’ sweet Jesus, why utter
sounds so cacophonous, or mutter
more than the rest of us can stand
to hear in seasoned rhymes like canned
hams that once were pigs—grunting,
rooting in their gruel, always wanting
more? And you, just your slice of pork
rewarmed, quiet on your fork.
Who then do we keep promise to,
the wilds, our gods, the fickle muse?
What then do we repeat in words
to hold more than refrains from birds?