Glory of plums, femur of Glory.
Glory of ferns
on a dark platter.

Glory of willows, Glory of Stag beetles
Glory of the long obedience
of the kingfisher.

Glory of waterbirds, Glory
of thirst.

Glory of the Latin
of the dead and their grammar
composed entirely of decay. 

Glory of the eyes of my father
which, when he died, closed
inside his grave,

and opened even more brightly
inside me.

Glory of dark horses
running furiously
inside their own

dark horses.


Copyright © 2020 by Gbenga Adesina. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 25, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“In this atmosphere of daily proximity to annihilation, I find myself desperately missing my friends. Their faces have been coming to me, especially the face of my friend, B. The visual softness of his face, his full head of hair that spills sideways, his face is a shadow archive. His face made me think of my father’s face, a face which contained almost in equal measure, praise and mournfulness. I wanted to write a poem that was the metric measure of that face. To praise, as my father’s face did, living; and in his death, the opposite of living. Praise as elation, praise as desolation. I picked my pen, I began to write.”
Gbenga Adesina