“Ashes! Ashes: We all fall down”
(Ring around the Rosie, 1600s)
The thing is this:
I’m supposed to be a Quaker
And it has nothing to do with poetry.
Burned his violin
In 1675 on some London hill
Testifying about fleshy corruption.
As I center down in the opening of Quaker silent worship,
Come up out of memory,
Me to sing
And make a kind of music, if only inwardly.
That if I joined the 17th century Quaker
And burned up my instrument
I’d need to throw myself on a funeral pyre
And become ashes.
Stanford Searl is a member of Santa Monica Monthly Meeting.