Ode on a Funerary Urn.

June 30, 2008 at 7:11 pm | Posted in poetry, writing | 37 Comments
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To Dust

In this room there is no furniture at all
just space created by four bare walls
divided by a single slanting shaft of golden light
through which tiny silent curlicues of dust drift
pirouette without purpose in immaculate duets
fall like lives lived behind closed doors
and land gently on a white marble floor.


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  1. ‘pirouette without purpose in immaculate duets’


  2. This is lovely, indeed. Delicate.

  3. No such thing as an empty anything obviously. So very nicely done.

  4. i feel humbled to have underestimated the grandieur heights of the lives of dust. : )

    if i had observed with any respect, i might find it that lovely. the idea of dust dancing within a ray of light. it really is sort of heavenly.

    also, i like that you added the floor was marble. in my mind i had created it a gray cement. but had to paint it over in my head with the last of the poem.

  5. is there a deflating beach ball hanging around in some corner? teehee

  6. silent curlicues of dust drift
    pirouette without purpose in immaculate duets

    Perfect. Smooth. Strong. Evocative.

  7. Great, though this is brief, it is maginficent. You have mastery over imagery! Can’t wait to read more

  8. what a place to be. are there any architects here?perhaps more writers should also be architects. theres a curiously ambiguous mood here, perhaps? Is it sad? Or is the room merely empty?
    Whose room is it? is it anybodies at all?


  9. it’s that place…..we’ve all seen it a time or two, yes?.. ghosts leave no prints i suppose… beautiful

  10. i could breathe in there. oscar levant said he had no pictures on his walls. someone asked him “what do you have against pictures?” he answered “what do you have against walls?”
    btw, i changed the settings you mentioned in your comment about buenos aires, and thanks so much for your well wishing! from a writer like you it means everything!

  11. I think maybe it is a very beautiful room – those dust dances hold many memories I should imagine. You convey the colour in this poem so clearly – a starkness which is almost blinding before you allow it to dim into serenity.

  12. oooh really lovely movement piece. i especially loved your use of the word pirouette. wonderful, as always. :]

  13. Well, now I understand why your poems are so great, you know, my obsession with the technicalities of poetics. And aside from the music of the words, there is this slightly surreal and silent image. You are so gifted.

  14. beautiful, fascinating

    so thoughtful of you to allow those lives lived behind closed doors to go gently into that good night instead of crashing into the marble…

  15. Paul –

    I’ll never think of dust in the same way again…

    Captivating. Sheer perfection!

    Your relationship with words is so deep and true, they have gifted you with all of their secrets…


  16. The beauty of the words and the sound belies the melancholy of the poem, how lives of those we’ll never know are like specks of dust, albeit lovely dust. Wonderful poem.

    There’s something about this poem that reminds me of 19th century Latin America poets, especially Ruben Dario.

  17. This post is remarkably well written. I would quote my favorite line, but I would just end up quoting the whole thing. Thank you for posting it.

  18. song of the inevitable. ~sigh~
    and if we sift through the dust and ashes, we’ll find the ultimate truth that in the end there’s no difference between all of us. no matter how we dance it, we’re all on the same path.

  19. dust is highly under-valued. in a conspicuous world, it is the hidden things that i awaken to!

  20. Perfect example of chaotic motion. Well, that’s what my dad taught me!


  21. Pauls dearest dearest one;) I read all the way back to early november my head is buzzing with you, ill email my requests but I wanted to instantly reflect how much I loved my morning in your mind. I had a wonderful wonderous time;)

    Buzzing joyously in beautyful perspectives

  22. Thanks everybody for all the wonderful feedback. These comments are like a gorgeous garden overflowing with spring flowers. I have been a bit busy lately and so my posting has become a bit erratic but I hope to be back to writing everyday sometime this week. Again, thankyou, my life is enriched in a very real way by your generousity.

  23. This is freaking AWESOME! I LOVE this! I am deeply impressed with this, just think it rocks! And the groovy thing about that is that if I thought it sucked, you know I’d be just as honest. lol damn, I need another beer. I’m not kidding pal, this was just simply beautiful. I bow to the author. :o)

  24. Read it again, still admire the austerity of the scene, the light,the whole shebang. I haven’t been posting every day either. Good things are worth the wait.

  25. Just looked up Gysin, how exciting! Thank you for mentioning him to me, now I have to find his books, god, more books to buy, my floor is littered with them.

  26. for me, elements of exile and loss exist in this piece… but not the kind of exile and loss that make grown men weep… on the contrary… the kind that some men introduce into their chaotic lives in order to find a bit of solace…

  27. so much subtledepth, innuendo, spirit … this. is. gorgeous.

  28. This was sad 😦 … And beautiful and briliant too! … Gosh, its galling to be repetitive but you leave no choice …

  29. So beautifully written, so beautifully said..so why am I weeping?, the old man said

  30. Paul, I have read the past three writings, and it is an inspiration to my eyes, and my thoughts.
    If ever I needed a eulogy…..I would want one from you…you capture life, and death with grace, and beauty always.

  31. You made me think of my Great Aunt who was much like your poem. She always reminded me of an alabaster container of a fragile and pale life, cut off from the world in self-containment! (So my Aunt Alma reminded me of a funerary urn?) You’re a remarkable writer. Then you must be aware of that after we’ve all screamed it at you for so long! I love how you’ve captured the feeling of the inside of the urn containing a life in so few lines. Clear, precise encircling of a person & idea in words. The definition of succinct. Another beautiful poem, Paul. Love it, love it.

  32. Thanks Mimi. You are a wonderful friend and a great poet and I miss your writing. How much longer til your book is reconstructed? I can’t wait that long. (((you)))

  33. absolutely gorgeous.

  34. Indeed beautiful and brilliant – thanks for reposting this wonderful gem of a poem. It’s made me rather sad.

  35. […] of joy, who else would write such a thing but a mad man in love. I don’t care if it is a cliche. Nor about the little frenchified mark which allows one to run out the vowel whilst licking the […]

  36. […] of joy, who else would write such a thing but a mad man in love. I don’t care if it is a cliche. Nor about the little frenchified mark which allows one to run out the vowel whilst stroking […]

  37. […] For more poetry, ride the Monday Poetry Train. Or check out Paul’s Blog or The Orchid Room. Here’s a link to Paul’s poem Funerary Urn. […]

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