Guest Poem by Duncan Wu

Duncan Wu is Raymond A. Wagner Professor of British and American Literature at Georgetown University, Washington, DC, U.S.A. He is best known as editor of Romanticism: An Anthology, first published in 1994 and now in its fourth edition. This poem is from Acumen 108.

Fired Up

Ruthless hot the angry August sun glares
down upon the slope. Nothing moves. My
dog sleeps in a pool of light while I stare
at a gap in the outer wall which I
will have to fill. But not right now. With luck
I can ignore it till the weather cools.
This is the unforgiving rut I’m stuck
within – a heat-induced inertia rules.
Yet this inaction, I begin to think,
is that to which all human business tends,
for everything resolves as rest; a blink,
and all that once was living finds that end.
Whatever is, is burning up – you, me;
to burn to ash is what it is to be.