This is the village where the funeralstranger
Stilted its dusty march over deep ruts
Up the hillside covered with queen’s lace
To the patch of weeds known finally to all.

Of her virtues large tongues were loud
As I, a stranger, trudged the streets
Gay with huckstering: loud whispers from a few
Sly wags who squeezed a humor from the shroud.

For this was death.
I should never see these men again
And yet, like the swiftness of remembered evil—
An issue for conscience, say—
The cold heart of death was beating in my brain:
A new figuration of an old phenomenon.

This is the village where women walk the streets
Selling eggs, breasts ungathered, hands like rawhide;
Of their virtues the symbol can be washtubs
But when they die it is a time of singing,

And then the symbol changes with change of place.
Let the wags wag as the pall-bearers climb the hill.
Let a new slab look off into the sunset:
The night drops down with sullen grace.

Books on the topic of this poem may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore

We hope you will join us in The Imaginative Conservative community. The Imaginative Conservative is an on-line journal for those who seek the True, the Good and the Beautiful. We address culture, liberal learning, politics, political economy, literature, the arts and the American Republic in the tradition of Russell Kirk, T.S. Eliot, Edmund Burke, Irving Babbitt, Wilhelm Roepke, Robert Nisbet, Richard Weaver, M.E. Bradford, Eric Voegelin, Christopher Dawson, Paul Elmer More and other leaders of Imaginative Conservatism. Some conservatives may look at the state of Western culture and the American Republic and see a huge dark cloud which seems ready to unleash a storm that may well wash away what we most treasure of our inherited ways. Others focus on the silver lining which may be found in the next generation of traditional conservatives who have been inspired by Dr. Kirk and his like. We hope that The Imaginative Conservative answers T.S. Eliot’s call to “redeem the time, redeem the dream.” The Imaginative Conservative offers to our families, our communities, and the Republic, a conservatism of hope, grace, charity, gratitude and prayer.

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