Staring at a Photo

Homage to Mark Strand

Staring at his coffin, gray and angular,

Mark will mark the day, like his disheveled

shirt and sports coat; wonder what remains

beyond the waves, applause, and

jaws of sadness and depression.

Words fly out from a gaping

hole above the door;

he strains to see, imagine;

passions cooled with age,

except the rage to create.

A poem’s one side

of a passionate conversation.

How many such conversations

did he wage?

A ghostly presence in the lines,

the face, the trace of agony

in taut lips, gray hair and

the pall-gray scarf about the neck.

The coffin waits, the grisly guest

will not delay.

Ed Block

Ed Block is Emeritus Professor of English at Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, where he taught courses on (among others) Denise Levertov and Czeslaw Milosz and workshops in creative writing. His interviews, essays, reviews and short stories have appeared in America, Image, Logos, U.S. Catholic, St. Anthony Messenger, and a variety of other journals. Over fifty of his poems have appeared in magazines and journals, and he has published three books of poems: Anno Domini (2016), Seasons of Change (2021), and Moments Strange (2022). Visit him at

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