The Formal Feeling

(title from Emily Dickinson)


Catharsis after tragedy

The sad rush we feel, knowing

The experience is over, that we got it


That it will not happen to us

And by the way

The community depicted now is stronger

It’s after the terrible and blessed

Have both transpired

And watchers leave the scene

(we leave the theatre)

To go home, chastened and relieved

It wasn’t us

They got their due

Their nation will be better

Let’s go home


It’s not closure

(what is)

For a future ticket will bring it all to

Action, opportunity, and desire

For mortal flaws to seed

And then to flourish

And are these analogues for

Life outside

Well, for those who must

Who will not learn

By mastery of organs or

Of language

Who will not hear

And will not heed delaying paradise

So not to have it at all


C L Couch



image from a production of Hamlet, 1899