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Winner of the 2019 Folio Editor's Prize

Ode for an Ode on a Grecian Urn

let your sorrows go.
Let brides be ravished, trees forsake
their leaves, let lovers kiss and fade, daughters age. Let loss
be the elixir that induces a new legend, new urn-dream:
Forests that seed, mature, starve, and reseed
without our overtures. Let wanting, waiting,
pacing be the rings in carbon dating. A new
museum piece. Imagine yearning bigger than an
urn, bigger than god; desire out of bounds, desire
crowned. Paint it fulfilled, the turning back of hounds.
What good is song if not the end of one man’s wish,
what-ifs? I died at twenty-five. So many do. Urn, make
your story new: Beauty is truth when sung to a priest’s
staccato voice  and tone near a young marine’s
too-heavy, too mature, burial stone; when love
betrayed makes lovers stutter phrases – sweet
clichés – that they used to say alone. Put it

in stone: Beauty is truth when sung to
the beat of a child’s quiet feet
leaving home; when
aging lovers sing
to one another:

Remember when we
used to rock in one another’s arms

and we knew god and the devil’s charms?


Copyright © 2019  M. B. McLatchey. All rights reserved.
Winner of the 2019 Folio annual Editor's Prize for Poetry.
Published in Folio Volume 34, May 2019.

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