Over at PoemHunter I found a companion poem to the one by Teasdale in the previous post. It's interesting to me that both of these poets deal with fear as a fear of death; or more specifically, a fear of being buried, of being isolated from life, of being utterly alone.
In these poems, death seems to be the opposite of life--the western idea of polarity, where life is understood by its opposite, death--rather than a continuation of life on a different plane of existence: heaven, enlightenment and nirvana, or reincarnation. I think each speaker fears, more than anything, being trapped: death=burial=stuck in one place, alone.
In Gluck's poem, the second stanza suggest that the ghost which roams the graveyard is not a disembodied spirit, but a spiritless body. We usually imagine the body as being lifeless after death--it decays, after all--and the spirit as that which continues. But the speaker sees the spirit as stuck on a small rock, and the body as doomed to roam the perimeter, observing the former weight of life.
The Fear Of Burial
In the empty field, in the morning,
the body waits to be claimed.
The spirit sits beside it, on a small rock--
nothing comes to give it form again.
Think of the body's loneliness.
At night pacing the sheared field,
its shadow buckled tightly around.
Such a long journey.
And already the remote, trembling lights of the village
not pausing for it as they scan the rows.
How far away they seem,
the wooden doors, the bread and milk
laid like weights on the table.