the last syllable of recorded time—William Shakespeare

signifying nothing,
struts and frets away

an hour or a day
beyond the last syllable
of the recording

he snuffed his own brief
and billions of other brief
candles out to make.

The measures of time
or anything count for nothing.
Water laps his feet

on the beach he thought
he owned—hell, he had it made
and remade again

at least a hundred
times; that should count for something.
A hard rain’s falling.

Beyond the breakers,
a tsunami’s swelling and
will crash today or

tomorrow. The fool
is counting lost syllables
and can’t be bothered

with weather and waves
and immeasurable life
he frittered away.

Roy Herndon Smith