Bodies, Flowerbeds: A Villanelle by Viola Allo

The earth, carved up, engraved with bodies,
this hollow vision of death: people resting
together, bodies beneath a bed of flowers.

We soften death into poems and stories.
The art of writing is just a way of wailing
for the earth, carved up, sculpted by bodies.

In Cameroon, hair from the dead is carried,
mixed with cam wood and kept; the living
remember bodies beneath beds of flowers.

What we seek through our endless studies
sits beyond death, but the path to it is sinking
into a carved-up earth, paved with bodies.

The sharp shovel of silence briefly remedies
the ear deaf to the voices of the dead, linking
it to slender-petaled tongues in a flowerbed.

A poem or a story is an etching of memories,
dignity in the fragile face of loss. Soothing
the earth, carved up, engraved with bodies,
we hum together beside a bed of flowers.

From: https://winningwriters.com/past-winning-entries/bodies-flowerbeds-a-villanelle

Date: 2014

By: Viola Allo (19??- )

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