Cliff Forshaw





404 is “page not found”, dead link,
the way the world forgets the things you did;
its chain got twisted up, got oddly kinked,
and all you’ve done’s undone, your thoughts unsaid.
You’ve been written out, in code, in secret ink:
No sense in asking why. You’re doubly dead.
Damnatio memoriae.

Some youthful indiscretions may live on,
(That foolish photograph is never gone!)
but books are burned, your body’s rotting in the ground,
your magnum opus is a “page not found”.
What was your life? What filled your time till now, now it’s later,
far later than you’ve allowed yourself to think?
You’ve snuffed it, and they’ve deodorized your old-time stink.
You’re at a loss. Senior moment. Don’t know why
you came in here.  [Comment deleted by Moderator.]
Damnatio memoriae.




Cliff Forshaw has been writer-in-residence in California, France, Kyrgizstan, Romania and Tasmania, twice a Hawthornden Writing Fellow, and guest poet at the International Poetry Festival,Nicaragua 2016. Collections include Vandemonian (Arc, 2013), Pilgrim Tongues (Wrecking Ball, 2015) and Satyr (Shoestring, 2017).

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