‘Is not the death of youth the Iliad’s
Overarching theme?’ Vachel Lindsay
Once inquired -- and the answer is
Yes, of course, as when the arrow
Aimed at Hector instead pierced
Young Gorgythion’s unarmored
Neck and his head slowly bent
As a poppy weighed down by rain
Might so incline, or when aged Nestor
Talked too much with his advice
To Patroclus of dubious efficacy.
Alas, the young warrior, the old king,
Body, or mind -- the death of youth:
But Vachel Lindsay? His death?
You may hear it said as I once heard
That he drank a bottle of Drano but
Lysol it was -- death by Lysol, age 52,
Springfield, Illinois, 12-5-1931.