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The Visitors


    They like to come here.  Pleasant sidestreets pave

            smoothly among the stones;

        a parking place at every grave;

a quiet suburb where the distant mower drones.


    Instead of one they'd snarled at, he or she,

            or nagged with angry tears,

        the dirty, worn perplexity

they had endured at last in silence through the years,


    there is a polished stone and the mown grass

            over the buried dark;

        there is the shadow that will pass;

there are the muffled cars that glide and softly park.


    Let there be no tears; let the easy plough

            creature from creature sever.

        Death is no inconvenience now.

At last no need for talking, talk all stopped forever.


    Wasn't this peace, this clippered prettiness,

            this silent presence here,

        this still and sterilized caress,

what they had longed for always, always held most dear?


Richard Moore



From The Naked Scarecrow, New Odyssey Press, 2000.
Originally printed in The Southern Review.  Reprinted by
permission of the author.

Background by
Little House

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