My Death as the Wren Library
I dreamt last night of my own
Death. As I died, I became the
Wren Library in Nevile’s Court in
Trinity College, Cambridge. Dying,
The library became even more
Luminous, its splendid thinly leaded
Clerestory windows were lighting up
Even more valuably.
I tried to phone a cab
To go downtown but the line went
My wife was moved. She had
A new friend already, however.
Sophie S., a friend of mine,
Though not that sort of friend,
Was even more moved. She found
A poem of mine describing all this
And rewrote it, in rhyming verse.
‘Oh my little bicycle’ was one of
Her lines. I knew I would not have
Published the poem in this form.
At a certain point I wept.
Up to this point I had kept my death
From everyone (although they knew).
When I wept the Wren Library
Did not tremble – I had feared
It would. Its clerestory luminosity,
Which was of course my clerestory
Luminosity, grew even more coolly
Elegant and uninhabited.
Its lack of inhabitants
Was what made its unearthly beauty
After my weeping, my wife and
Her new friend were more moved
Even than before.
It was my heart,
My son was in the general area.
In general, there was a feeling of
A certain amount of sorrow.
But I didn’t want to worry
My son, who is fond of me,
And is eleven.
I was concerned about the taxi.
Would my beautiful windows oscillate
Too much on the trip downtown,
And shiver into thousands of
People were walking up and down
On the gravelled paths of
Trinity’s Nevile’s Court.
My death had been inevitable.
My son’s face kept turning up,
Like a moon among all these things.