Nietszche and the Graceful

I read some Nietzsche by the pool
today because the day was hot
and bright and every breeze was cool.
I couldn’t say I read a lot,

the atmosphere was much too nice
and whether Nietzsche would approve
I raised my eyelids more than twice
to watch a female body move

with thoroughbred or feline grace
across the decking toward a chair
beneath “the breath of empty space”
to stretch out in the blue of air.

But reading on I came across
that famous sentence: “God is dead.”
Experiencing no sense of loss,
I felt exuberance instead

imagining the headlines, bold
and stunning, on the magazines
(How many copies had been sold
and some still wonder what it means?)

Observed another animal
and lost myself in Nietzsche’s herds,
but understood that, after all,
he had a madman say the words

that made the faithful bend their knees
to pray in hope that faith was strong
enough and all philosophies
other than their own were wrong.

But nothing mattered anyway,
the graceful bodies under blue,
or what a madman had to say,
because not one of them was you.

by Michael Harmon