To an Activist Dying Young
(With apologies to A. E. Housman)
Three times you won Vermonter racesMayor, congress, senate;
Three times we cheered you
From our mountain spaces:
Now, the road all runners come,The heart has slowed your paces;
As white hair sprouts like antlers,
Aged armor of a racer.
Smart buck to pace your heartbeatWith antlers’ aging color.
For thirty million donor dollars
Cannot a grave uncover.
Eyes the shady night has shut
Will not see the record cut
And silence sounds much worse than jeers
When earth has stopped the ears.
So set your fleet footNot on the sill of shade,
But on the lecterned stage,
And round that silken antlered head
Let voters flock to gaze.
They’ll hear a breathing Bernie speakAutumnal activist he,
Wise enough to fight a fight
He’ll stay alive to see.