With what will you refill the well

With what will you refill the well
once there is nothing left to seep
through the rough stones and hardened clay
and they are dry and filmed with dust?

And the great thirst that must be slaked
else inspiration, too, is parched
and turned to brittle bones whose marrow
marks their grave with pale, red powder,

how with your pail, now of no purpose,
will you draw that quenching liquid
when the rope down in the dark hole
has succumbed as well to dry rot?

With what will you refill the well
once the dry clods you’ve cast into it
have absorbed what little moisture
might remain from dew’s departure?

Without strength from this well’s water
you cannot dare dig another;
why then waste its precious cargo
in such stiff and cracked canteens?

27 May 2005

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