Who Can Say

The day they snaffled Gaddafi
from his sewer sanctum-
parading the parader,
berating the ranter-
that very day
across the other way of the world-
spin the globe and down a hemisphere-
a baby died
ten days after perilously early contractions
sent his unchilded parents into panic.
Held in the high tech savvy
and maternal simulacrum
of the humidicrib,
he did for ten days stay,
but he was too soon,
and the filigree of his lungs
too flimsy for air,
so he slipped from them
to swim in the waters of elsewhere.

About Gaddafi’s death there was debate-
its merit, its agents, the barbarous display
of the rotting body.
The way of the world a world away
for David there was but the stunned
tenderness of grandparents, aunts and uncles,
and the incredulity of the two who had made him,
caressing to memory the hint
of those barely cohered family features,
gazing at the flickering life short known.
In the volume of history Gaddafi wins:
David’s claim to archivable print
but a few squares of lament.

Achievement and meaning,
power for good and for grief,
duration and size,
who can say,
in the volume that matters,
whose life takes the prize?
A small candle’s tongue in the dark
may tell more than the boast of a million neon signs.

Grief and Loss