O bony relic of forgotten days,
Which, from my bookshelf, dominates the room,
Your empty sockets, with sardonic gaze,
Follow me weirdly in the deepening gloom!
I often think, if sudden speech returned,
You might reveal that secret, grisly jest
You’re grinning at—or tell me what you’ve learned
Of that dark realm to which we’re all addressed.
By what rude hands were you exhumed, and why
Wrenched from your body in its earthy bed?
Who knows but such indignity will I
Receive at other hands, when I am dead,
And, strangely resurrected, may adorn
The wall or desk of one as yet unborn!
“To a Skull on My Bookshelf” by Elizabeth Virginia Raplee, 1937
Categories: Poetry and Prose