Untitled Fragment

And as the procession

before me fled one seemed to

know as one whose years the mask

and smokeless altars interpose


numerous as the dead

from whose forms shadows

pass and

of that great crowd rearranged

the thrush and thrift and edelweiss: a

SHAPE whose garments in the changing

seasons as yet formless against

the trembling like the

lifting of a veil


Copyright © 2020 by Lynn Xu. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 27, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“I wrote this fragment because I wanted to try out a moment of sustained abstraction. What I am working on, around this piece, is a funeral procession, and I am writing with Shelley's unfinished poem ‘The Triumph of Life,’ which is one of my favorite poems in the English language.”
Lynn Xu