An elegy is a song of sorrow or mourning–often for someone who has died. But, since poets exercise license, they can also write elegies for the ends of things: a life, a love affair, a great year or era, a sports season, camping trip, conversations, etc.

This “form” is more about content, since there is no specific pattern, scheme or meter.



Oh, how you have grown silent,
and your smile less bright. I sit here
listening for the sound of you tonight
but you do not answer. Shall I sit here longer?

Darkness has befallen you, your shadow
is misty mem’ry, you have left me
far too long ago. My mind knows
you have departed, but my heart is numb,

it has gone dumb and unbelieving.
I will be leaving you in peace someday,
the way it must so be. And yet,
I get the urge to repeat this dirge at each sight

of your name ingrained in granite and stone.
I am alone where I sit and I sense a hand,
gentility and frigidity are its markers. Starkness
of reality is what I must face. This place of night

persistent and eternal, this infernal field
where death rests. My chest tightens
and my heart seizes as it releases you,
a memory true and loyal, spoiled

by your sad circumstance. No macabre dance
can placate my soul. This evening has control
of all my senses. Within these iron fences, I sit
my own shadow in this endless night. My fright

is that we will head in different directions;
with me going not where my angel is allowed.
Covered by this shroud of my indiscretions,
errors and terrors inflicted upon my honor.

I am hidden in this forbidden place. My face
in remorseful charade shielded by the mask
I assume. I resume my lament, I curse your cancer.
You do not answer. Shall I sit here longer?

(C) Copyright Walter J Wojtanik – 2014


Written as a response to Thomas Gray‘s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (1750).