Etymological Dirge

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear.

Calm comes from burning.
Tall comes from fast.
Comely doesn't come from come.
Person comes from mask.

The kin of charity is whore,
the root of charity is dear.
Incentive has its source in song
and winning in the sufferer.

Afford yourself what you can carry out.
A coward and a coda share a word.
We get our ugliness from fear.
We get our danger from the lord.


From THE FATHER OF THE PREDICAMENTS (Wesleyan University Press, 1999)

 

Poems by Heather McHugh

Etymological Dirge

Nano-knowledge

Stroke