The scent of rosemary rankles overmuch the soul
For on white linen it is strewn
To clear the path through broken pavements
and cold clay earth where breath lives not.
These halls of stone are greened with herbs
and dusty smoke that bleeds out hoarfrost
as winter comes. Fair night, I beseech thee
to clear the air of this miasma that doth choke
the air from lungs of funeral-goers
and send them marching down to join their host.
Rosemary, rosemary, bleed out thy sap
and leave the living to their peace.
It is so cold in these graves, these empty rooms
where starlight shineth not upon my face
and water washes over clammy floors
stuck through with clumps of ashes.
The mourners’ feet doth ring on steps of bone
Their eyes burnéd crimson by sorrow’s blood,
those salty crystal tears.
Laugh, laugh, rosemary, for your bones wither not
and your fluted tongues of green cannot lament
As your cold perfume drives mortals mad with memory.