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The Men Who Raised The Dead Analysis

Author: poem of Ron Rash Type: poem Views: 10

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If they had hair it was gray,

the backs of their hands wormy

currents of blue veins, old men

the undertaker believed

had already lost too much

to the earth to be bothered

by what they found, didn't find,

brought there that May afternoon

dogwood trees bloomed like white wreaths

across Jocassee's valley.

They took their time, sought the shade

when they tired, let cigarettes

and silence fill the minutes

until the undertaker

nodded at his watch, and they

worked again, the only sound

the rasp and shuck of shovels

as they settled deeper in graves

twice-dug, sounding for the thud

of struck wood not always found—

sometimes something other, silk

scarf or tie, buckle, button

nestled in some darker earth,

enough to give a name to.

One quit before they were done,

lay down as if death were now

too close to resist, and so

another stepped in his grave,

finished up, but not before

they shut his eyes, laid him with

all the others to be saved

if not from death, from water.


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