To Joseph S. Pulver, Sr
With gratitude & admiration
My son, you must beware the woods at night
in winter when a madman stalks the trees
and sings the dark as does a dying beast,
left chained beneath a hood and starved of light.
My father said he was a questing knight,
who lost himself beyond the fire’s reach.
He sought for God but found a Muse’s teeth:
she turned all of his wakings into night.
My darling, I was once like you and strayed
beyond the road and past its wooded rim.
I heard his hymn, like tatters blown among
the shadows of a life the Muse un-made.
To him she gave this voice of falling wind.
My lady’s name is Death. I am her song.