Shadow of the Host

Upon your friends list, leave an empty line
In memory of the voices stuck on mute,
Whose cause the imp and angel both malign —
Yet neither knows — yet neither needs refute.

Once statesmen spoke, and papers spread their words
To frame, in every soul, a fixed debate.
Now headless feeds writhe into forms absurd,
To mock, appeal, cajole, and obfuscate.

Where once the papers came by ones and twos,
And all the village knew what each decreed,
The screen hides hydra-headed multitudes
Behind a name that swears to every creed

And yet is silent where it matters most.
What choice, what balance, in the screaming host?

Shadow of a Story

It is something like a shadow
    that goes everywhere with me,
Cast by the light of distant lamps
    that I shall never see.
For some, it is a chain I bear.
    For others, it is I.
It fades faint when I am busy,
    and it thickens when I cry.

Each morning, you’d a shadow-road
    that rolled out from your feet,
And fell on places you should go
    and people you should meet.
Then at dusk, your shadow trailed
    from your feet back to the dawn,
And its fingers picked out places
    where you had — or hadn’t — gone.

From afar, my shadow crossed your path,
    and whispered to your mind.
In due course, our shadows mingled,
    sharing face, and shape, and mind.
For our daughter, they stretched stronger,
    showing all that she could prove.
Since we parted, each has faded
    to a shadow of our love.

When I saw your shadow frozen,
    cast alone upon the ground,
And I could not find you near it,
    though your thoughts lay all around,
Then I knew that you had left us
    for a life without decay,
Under light that casts no shadows
    — so your shadow had to stay.