Eulogy for a Them

We gather here to celebrate a him
Or her (an it? a they?) and in the end
A prophet of the present who could bend
Reality to suit their loosest whim.
For whatsoever they had been or might
Have been, they were their own priority;
Their every inkling claimed majority
And what they felt determined what was right.
At times of course they acted like a man,
But none of us is perfect, so it’s said,
And now their useless clump of cells is dead,
Although they could go in the garbage can,
We’ll compost them, since they’d be truly thrilled
To have eternal life as chlorophyll.



Jeffrey Essmann is an essayist and poet living in New York. His poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, among them Agape Review, America Magazine, Dappled Things, the St. Austin Review, U.S. Catholic, Grand Little Things, Heart of Flesh Literary Journal, and various venues of the Benedictine monastery with which he is an oblate. He is editor of the Catholic Poetry Room page on the Integrated Catholic Life website.

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The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments.

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13 Responses

  1. Joseph S. Salemi

    The trannie freak now takes his final sleep —
    What better place than in a compost heap?
    He joined a group (“The Friends of Mother Earth”)
    So let a plowed field be his bed and berth.
    Well-nourished ground produces good azalea —
    Who knows what grows from sliced-up genitalia?

  2. Margaret Coats

    Eulogizing the subject, Jeffrey, it reads quite well. ELEVEN uses of a plural pronoun for a singular person, in a mere 14 lines, provides the emphasis they would want. And the last line might well reflect the last wishes, though in all seriousness it’s horrid.

    Joseph, your couplets in response also conclude effectively, while they suit the dismal occasion with plaintive questions: “What better place” and “Who knows what grows”

  3. Roy Peterson

    A very descriptive ode for whatever they were. Such a perfect conclusion to their imperfect wasted life, although chlorophyll is too good for them.

  4. Cheryl Corey

    Very clever, Jeffrey. Who the heck came up with all this pronoun crap anyway? When you write “We’ll compost them”, did you have in mind the latest suggestion the nut jobs have that we compost people when they die?

  5. Joseph S. Salemi

    All of this contrived pronoun idiocy is narcissism gone berserk. It’s just a way for freaks and perverts to cry out “Look at me! I’m important and special!”

    We can take a lesson from Groucho Marx on this subject. Once on his TV show a woman from San Francisco was a guest. Groucho said to her “Frisco is a nice city.” The punctilious woman replied “Yes Groucho, but we who live there do not like the word ‘Frisco.’ We prefer that the correct name of ‘San Francisco’ be used.”

    Groucho didn’t miss a beat. He just answered “So tell me — how long have you been living in Frisco?”

    That’s what we all should do when some pretentious pronoun-pusher tries to shame us into using factitious politically correct pronouns. Just ignore him totally, and continue speaking normally using the proper pronouns, as if the idiot hadn’t said a thing. This puts the onus on him to start a fight, and if he does you can call him out for being a jackass.

    I do this regularly at work, and it enrages left-liberals.

  6. Cynthia Erlandson

    Wonderful satire! “What they felt determined what was right” about sums it up. Don’t think, just feel.

  7. Patricia Allred

    Phenomenal.! I was looking on line for pictures of lovers. Something romantic! Oy! I found nude men clutching each others buttox! Women… also!
    It totally floored me. Today the White House had an event led by Dr. Jill Biden(oh…give me a break) to
    honor women, The headliner? Righto!!!
    a transgender! Patricia

    • Joseph S. Salemi

      This is the administration of perverts, trannies, and bizarre pronoun freaks. We shouldn’t be surprised at what is being honored.

  8. Ben Hawkin

    What a mean-spirited and despicable poem, especially the last 4 lines (the author also went to the effort of selecting and including that photograph). I thought art, writing and poetry was intended to celebrate humanity, emotion, beauty, nature and divinity? There is none of that in this poem, only (and these do not jibe well with christian beliefs) stereotyping, mockery and contempt. The comments seem determined to surpass even that level of spite.

  9. Sean Mulroy

    This “poem” is mediocre metrical hate speech. To pervert the use of poetic verse into this kind of snide bigotry is about as true to the spirit of poetry as perverting use of the Gospels into far-right political movements is to the teachings of Christ (something I’d wager you’re also fond of–the politics, not the Christ). Imagine having the restraint to compose verse in meter and not having the restraint to not speak ill of the dead–let alone surrender your palpable contempt for their personhood.

    As for the absolutely baseless “disclaimer” at the bottom (“The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments.”)? Please spare us your attempts and diverting blame. The very definition of the word endorse (Merriam Webster has it: to approve openly, especially publicly) puts the lie to this statement. You approved this poem to be on your public site. That’s an endorsement. I would have thought as classicists you’d have been mightily invested in prescriptive meaning, but it appears you are more mightily invested in supporting and expressing sing-song hatefulness of a person who has died, while trying to dodge responsibility for your bigotry.


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