"What Happened" is the first poem in Fallout, my eighth book, published by Word Press, available on Amazon. My ninth book is Dark Energy published by Grolier's Established Poets Series. I am completing my tenth now.
What happened to Mozart who sang like a bird
More golden than Yeats’ imagination wrought,
Where is Shakespeare’s passionate thought,
Does his ghost pace on Hamlet’s stage?
And what of Dante who consigned to Hell
His former friends who did not treat him well?
Where is Sophocles whose simple myth
Became the basis of psychoanalysis,
And Freud who smoked his mouth to death,
What happened to him, to his depth
Of soul – is it lying like a clay shard
In an earthen hole, and poor Dylan Thomas
Who ranted, “Death shall have no dominion,”
Knowing he lied, or the Brothers Grimm,
What became of them, dust in sunlight
Turned like a clock – watch it long enough
And you’ll go mad, or Paganini
Whose fingers danced and women swooned,
Or Gower or Chaucer who made
Such exquisite mixes of English or French
The birds That slepen al with open eye
Would weep to hear the Earth took him
What happened to Donne who would have us listen
To sermons about our limitations,
And Boccaccio, a name to stuff in your mouth
As a squirrel stuffs nuts when fall leaves redden?
What of Herbert with his convictions of heaven
And Apollinaire that fantastic name?
Verlaine, Villon, Baudelaire, names
That once strode Paris, and Renoir, Cezanne?
What happened to Picasso, where did he go?
And Marc Chagall who would live forever,
And Michelangelo upside down,
Painting all night like a motley clown,
And Jane Austen, so precise about the minutiae
Of interactions, where is her flesh
With its intricate cells,
And Emily Dickinson who lived alone
As if time never happened.
What happened to Einstein,
His brain in a jar,
And Galileo, Copernicus, Blake?
Put them together and what do they make
Of these disappeared where did they go?
We know but we are too timid to say,
Of Whitman who whistled his own way,
Hands in his pockets, ready to loaf,
Of Frost that dark and folksy man,
Beckett waiting in garbage can.
All these geniuses and little you
With a pen in your hand, a non-believing Jew,
What of your life, where did it go?
It passed in an instant. Oh.
©2016 Frederick Feirstein
©2016 Frederick Feirstein
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