Dean Prior Church, Devonshire, 2001

by David W. Landrum

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We passed a lumber-yard
as showers stabbed,
slurried manure and mud,
and asked directions
from sawyers
covering piles of new-cut boards
with blue tarpaulins.
All flesh is sodden wood, not grass:
heft of the human body
shot with parasites and worms,
fat kings, lean beggars, all devourable
(we fat ourselves for maggots).
Near Dean Bourne creek
time darkens the old church,
wipes gravestones blank, and totters monuments.
The priest officiates
but Wisdom calls, Who can say
I have made my heart clean, I am pure from sin?

Here Herrick, legend has it,
threw his sermon in a fit of rage
at his snoring, farting, whispering congregation.
Sodden lumber of the body;
blue tarpaulins, rain soaking through.

David W. Landrum teaches literature at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan.  He has published poems in numerous journals and edits the on-line poetry journal Lucid Rhythms.

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