Sunday, November 10, 2013


'Patroclus, dear brother, I shall do as you ask:
I'll see to the arrangements for your funeral. But
Come closer now, for a moment let us embrace
And wail in excruciating lamentation.'
He reached out but he couldn't get hold of him:
Like smoke the hallucination slipped away
Bat-squeaking underground. Achilles, flabbergasted,
Threw up his hands and blurted out heartbroken words:
'Even in the House of Death something remains,
A ghost or image, but there's no real life in it.
All night the apparition of sad Patroclus
Has hovered over me, weeping and keening
And giving instructions. Did I imagine him?
He looked so like himself, a double, a twin.'

- from The Apparition by Michael Longley