Ode, let your sorrows go. Let brides be
ravished, trees forsake their leaves, let lovers
kiss and fade, daughters age. Let loss be

the elixir that induces a new legend, new
urn-dream: Forests that seed, mature,
starve, and reseed without our overtures.

Let wanting, waiting, pacing be the rings in
carbon dating. A new museum piece. Imagine
yearning bigger than an urn, bigger than god;

desire out of bounds, desire crowned. Paint it
fulfilled, the turning back of hounds. What good
is song if not the end of one man’s wish, what-ifs?

I died at twenty-five. So many do. Urn, make
your story new: Beauty is truth when sung to
a priest’s staccato voice and tone near a young

marine’s too-heavy, too mature, burial stone;
when love betrayed makes lovers stutter
phrases – sweet clichés – that they used to

say alone. Put it in stone: Beauty is truth
when sung to the beat of a child’s quiet
feet leaving home; when aging lovers

sing to one another:
Remember when
we used to rock in one another’s arms and
we knew god and the devil’s charms?

Copyright © 2019  M. B. McLatchey. All rights reserved.
Winner of the
2019 Folio annual Editor's Prize for Poetry.
Published in
Folio Volume 34, May 2019.

Author's website:
Ode for an
Ode on a
Grecian Urn
Winner of the 2019 Folio Editor's Prize