‘Leave what you die for and be safe to die’

Wake me up when November ends. Here’s William Empson’s “The Teasers,” suitably grim. Happy November.

Not but they die, the teasers and the dreams,
Not but they die,
and tell the careful flood
To give them what they clamour for and why.

You could not fancy where they rip to blood
You could not fancy
nor that mud
I have heard speak that will not cake or dry.

Our claims to act appear so small to these
Our claims to act
colder lunacies
That cheat the love, the moment, the small fact.

Make no escape because they flash and die,
Make no escape
build up your love,
Leave what you die for and be safe to die.

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