Collected Poems of John Holmes
Holmes, John A., Jr.
It is not on the door now, nobody gets a letter
Signed with it now, it is gone from the voting list.
Yet not really forgotten, only stopped changing.
The name is still spoken, and the name's man missed.
Everything he did, especially the last usual things,
We made mean much. Alive, he would have jeered
At our waste of praise for cloudy words and work
That in the next right sunlight he would have cleared .
That is a name? It is something a live man renews,
Or spoils, or signs, it is something he can change. .
People laugh at it, say yes to it, need it to get jobs.
But the name of a dead man is sad, still, strange.
After we use a dead man's same name ten years,
Time does for him what he never thought to try.
We had always admired him, ha had gained honors
That come to names. But he had not planned to die,
Oh he was busy in the hard high hurrying world! but
Always his ambitions for his own name lacked one.
And now he achieves even that, the last sad honor,
Death. Even that is something that he has done.