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Plays & Poems
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Human My Race
Published as Amy Cumpston

“She is clearly a writer of quality. Her poems convey a new and interesting personality: forceful with a combination of sensitivity and grit that augur well for the future.” Charles Higham Bulletin

The Pianist, William Kapell
A lamentation

All is undone, the burnished genius,
all in a flash, an inferno of flame.
Even as dead wood, you too turned to ash,
no living substance left to grace your name:
and grace it was, the gift of your ten fingers
their prodigious music, their awesome web
ringing through every part where feeling lingers
shaking us to the roots till your last ebb.
All scrap, a molten twist, a scar –
the earthy, your stormy stage, has struck you down
a blow too vicious to be known or barred.
Now your obituary is your renown.

No cortege slides to the silent ritual
now you are done. Your death was claps of sound
and inconceivable wrath. When earth was cool
and stray of gutted skeletons was found,
no one knew which one was yours to mourn you.
Split as the bomb, unutterably shattered
the brute explosion has destroyed and torn you.
Another man and it might less have mattered
mother, wife and child or the odd bystander
weeping as he must also die, that dreams,
our dress, are froth while doom is still commander.

We come to tears as naked, and look on death –
fierce as the worst furies imagined of God –
the end of one who, by your act of breath
and your transfiguring motions, made your body
organ to thunder, bottomless sob and sigh.

Could you have seen your terrible destination
young man, accursed though blessed with revelation,
would you have thought that God was possible
who would mock your youth with an end so horrible?

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