What were you learning all that time,
in the dark with your books and your pain?
What have you to show for your years tucked away
filling ink-bottles with self-loathing tears?
Did you photograph the lashes on your aging back
to know the world or for the world to pity?
And did you produce a single shred of good work,
after all, between peanuts and beer?
What was it all worth, your blank degree
in selfishness, madness, regret,
for it has not earned you a feeling heart,
has not taught you to be human yet-
but you are going to grow old,
and you’re going to die,
and you’re going to leave nothing behind,
lowered far down with the worms at last,
unknown to a soul but the wildflowers above
growing up, up, from your decay.