“An Elegy”

By Tristan Steffe || Contributing Writer

         ‘I pace upon the battlements and stare / On the foundations of a house, or where / Tree, like a sooty finger, starts from the earth’. The grasses sing something solemn. Song blades of feathers now stone-grated. No place to hide in the slated sea. Seek, forever, ever. Where is she in those still golden grains? I look far from white weathered windows. Along that grassy hill, there used to be a child and another. They paddled in ferns and rode in forests. Once a time they saw more than a dreary cliff over waters.

         Once a time they had dollies. Upon, one had a knight, and the other a dragon. In the bin of the basement, home. There they would dance, one leading the other, never twice the same. Those children would swing arms together and roots would grow.

         From the basement steps, the walls are unmarked. Up the kitchen-lay webs spin passing stories. In a child’s room, there is a box of stuff. Stuff of affection and bright futures. It remains bolted to the bed.

         On the porch and around the back, the children would splinter samurai sticks. What happened to those swords? Down the dune path, they would dig for stones. The swords would become shovels and the kids hardened sailors under a captain. Did the crew depart long ago? Below the house, in a dirt space against some slats, I held my sister. Now with just each other, it was time to leave. The place was to pass.

         It looks lifeless, the old thing. Sunken into sand, battered by breath and blow. A house no more. Howls crush me at the tide’s low-edge. Winds sweep the cries of the sea. Horrible, haunted lament. Burning until memories become wilted. The scene is a pyre, and I am a ghost as the earth remembers. ‘What shall I do with this absurdity— / O heart, O troubled heart—this caricature / Decrepit age that has been tied to me / As to a dog’s tail?’ (Yeats, The Tower).

Junior Tristan Steffe is a contributing writer, his email is tsteffe@fandm.edu

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