Tuesday, February 24, 2009


(Dedicated to some I knew, whether male or female)

What would I do if somebody called
And said you were dead?
There’s accidents all around
And plenty of diseases that go unbound,
Not to mention mordant murders
That come to us, that deeply strive,
Out of the soft sweet blue—
It could happen, but.
What would I do then?
I’ve never thought of you like that,
As less than alive,
Though I expect it of myself.

How long would it take for me to cry, I wonder?
Would it be one minute or five?
It wouldn’t matter much when I started
When the real problem would be,
When would such sorrow ever end?
Could I forget you, or forget to grieve?
It doesn’t seem so;
I guess that’s why I’ve never thought of it.
It’s too much to ever bear—
A death that would end the world, yet never end!

We’ve known each other all these days,
Tattered decades gone by now—
So young when we met,
Almost elegant then, compared to now,
And sometimes even yet in remembrance
Each thinks such beauty of the other,
Though we may seem so awkward,
Maybe even graceless, to ourselves—
Good gracious, ring the bells,
Our health much gone to hell,
Whether we only feel it in the nerve
Or in our backs
Or it shows somehow in our drooping flesh,

Whether it’s by many ways or only one.
It hardly matters to any but ourselves
Because it’s just a hard-luck story
And so hard to keep track of—
Everyone grows old, except those who don't!
But I know, I mean I don’t know,
What would I do if that long-distance call came for me
And somebody said you were dead?
Would I not soon regret Everything?
Such death could not be borne.

This poem may or may not continue to be revised; if you only read it once, that may be enough for you. Still, some revisions will occur without warning.

You know a poem is pretty good when it makes you weep before you can finish it--ain't poetry grand? Ain't poets crazy?


  1. Oh, I like this, and have been sitting here re-reading your poem several times over. I think it is a fitting poem to read on Ash Wednesday, this day when we can ponder that our vehicle for traveling this way isn't meant to last; yet we, the travelers, can proceed beyond this realm.

  2. Glad you liked it and had some thoughts on it! I find it makes me weepy even the day after; I may have to avoid this thing for a while!

  3. A moving poem, Ron. It rings true for my own experience. Last year I lost two old friends, back in Europe.

    The long distance call came in one case, an e-mail for the other. It didn't take more than 2 seconds to weep.

    It's part of growing old - having to experience the world without bits of it which had, not long ago, seemed to be indestructible.

    It helps to read your poem. :-)

  4. All the good-looking, sensitive women (all but one) are coming out of the woodwork for this one!


Abandon hope, all ye who enter here! (At least put on your socks and pants.)