THE DYING BELT,
DOUGLAS PASCHALL GONE
The Collected Poems
by Reynolds Price
Just as I head into the Dying Belt,
As my father called it-when friends and enemies
Roughly my age begin to wink out
Naturally-I find myself
Assaulted still by the wrenching off
Of far younger friends with stingier portions
At this long feed than I (and I feeding yet).
Now you, Douglas, ground
In the monster claw of the crab in your vitals;
And the poem I wrote you a year ago
Still unpublished-well, you read it
And hailed me back through the wide air between us
(Tennessee, Carolina) with a Roman poise,
A courtly gravity becoming our best days
A dozen years back when we trusted each other
Through a dangerous night and walked out saved
In hot August dawn.
©Copyright Reynolds Price, 1997. All Rights Reserved.
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