For Whom the Moving Finger Writes

Omar Khayyam said something much, I think:
Who from iambic couplets did not shrink
To say in verse that each relates to all
As all relates to those of us who crawl
Beneath that huge inverted dome of sky
Which rolls, indifferent to you and I;
Which writes with moving finger and moves on
From twilight through the dark until the dawn
Regardless of what piety or wit
We beg to live again a word of it
Nor with our tears wash out a single line:
The poem of our past we can't refine

John Donne wrote also of a clod of earth
From off a continent defined at birth:
An island in itself, as is no man
Who yet connects to all the human clan
So that which we of others would compel
Ourselves must suffer and endure as well
For we and they can not identify
A reason why yet one more soul should die
To mark with tolling bells its passage plus
The knowledge that its passing lessens us
So let us not ask what fate's finger writes
For it but chronicles our pointless fights

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright 2007