Search this website

Ubi Sunt RSS

Ubi Sunt

16 April, 2020: Ubi Sunt

Read a Poem

Ubi Sunt

by Marcus Bales

Ubi sunt the Romans used to write 
Whenever it came near the time of year 
For bare ruined choirs and dying light 
Shadowed across the chilly lack of cheer. 
I guess it isn’t much above the odds:  
As dark approaches people check their bets,  
And even grope a little after gods, 
As surely as the daylight time sun sets.
There are a few I wonder where they are –
Not gods but people – when something seen or said  
Has cracked a shadowed memory door ajar -- 
As you smile now, or maybe nod your head, 
Because you've just remembered one or two 
Whose lives have lapsed to distant silhouettes 
Who once were close as anyone to you, 
As surely as the daylight time sun sets.
Where are they now? It's been that long? And why 
Did such a close connection fray away? 
But we lead busy lives, and with a sigh 
For lang syne not unshadowed by dismay, 
Turn back to those who love us here and now, 
And whom we love, in spite of our regrets 
For absent others time does not allow 
As surely as the daylight time sun sets. 
You!  Hypocrite semblable! Spare 
Me all your can't recalls and I forgets. 
We each remember all that we can bear 
As surely as the daylight time sun sets. 
“Ubi Sunt” by Marcus Bales. 51 Poems. Lawrence Block Productions, 2015. Used by permission of the author.
Not much is known about Marcus Bales except he lives in Cleveland, Ohio, and his work has not appeared in The New Yorker or Poetry Magazine. He posts new poems regularly at Occasional Poems: .  His most recent book, 51 Poems, published by Lawrence Block Productions, is available at­.

Write a poem

Write a poem on a lesser known birthday, such as Hogmanay or Burns Night (Scotland), St. Agnes Day (or any Saint's day), La Tomatino (Spain: a tomato-throwing festival), Boun Ma Kha Bu Saar (Laos), or another you know.

Carole Mason
Cindy! I tell myself to keep trying at writing....I'm not quite so certain when I read such words as yours.
4/16/2020 9:10:04 PM

Elaine Schleiffer
This is beautiful, thank you Marcus.
4/16/2020 1:37:00 PM

Cindy Lowrey
Stay at home from work day
During the lockdown

Irony of ironies on this sunny day
Catching memories I try to forget
The day which light four square sent
And luck awaited on sunlit deck
Oh woe is me that sits
Prisoned inside by these four walls
When the sun outside beckons me to forget
Why I choose to hold myself in

Who was it that christened this?
Who decided to relax and suspend all outings
The walking, the travel
And turn machines home while laundry spins
Did they know the day would land in the middle of days?
Where children vie for attention and we question our ways
Minutes turn to hours and hours to days
Yet time seems pervious where it once was set
Lovely but different
Habits are hard to forget
4/16/2020 12:26:01 PM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.