triumphs of style, of will; of what was once
called honor, though such words have fallen now
into a certain awkward disrepute.
There is the calm acceptance of a fate
unjust and unavoidable; the hardened
face and straightened spine of one condemned
to hang for some secretly righteous act.
There is, finally, death with dignity:
a phrase we offer tritely to the old,
helplessly to the ill, but even we,
we young and healthy, also learn to die
a little each day of our adult lives
with dignity. (I learned these things from you.)