Spirits in The Material World


I make time for the dead.

They only speak

when there’s something worth saying.


They are so clever,

only appear

when no one else is watching.


And they know what they’re doing.

If you mention them too much,

you’ll end up in the back of a van,


shipped off to what passes

for an asylum these days, where you’ll supper

on buttered toast and lithium.


But it’s not funny

when they come at you through song,

and you have company


and have to explain to friends

why you cry into your hummus

or peel into a laugh.


And unlike the living,

they are never boring.

They can morph


from clouds or stars

and only you can pick them out.

Aren’t they extraordinary?


Only fools say

When you’re dead, you’re dead,

and I pity the fools.



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