Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Nearly Dead

Will they say I lived all my life
On suburban roads
Not of the city or of the country
But a place in between
Will they say I never took any risks,
Never had to hack my arm off in extremis
Never eating anybody's cousin in desperate straits?

Like millions I struggled from one pay day to another,
Trying to stop the haemmorhage of money through the bars and pubs of the town...
Trying to keep up, to keep the income over the outgoings.
I don't care what the Joneses do.

I long for the wild places without fences or walls,
Where the birds wheel and the wind blows lustily,
Where the sound of the sea is never far away
Where the shores rustle their greeting to the waves
And the driftwood tumbles up and down the beach.

I long to run without worrying I am going to break a knee or hip,
Long for those days when I didn't know what I had, who I was, what I was going to be.
"Youth is wasted on the young," said my grandmother, and I protested, but I didn't understand
Until now
How little I appreciated my youth while I had it.

Will they say I had talent but I
Frittered it away on unfinished projects
Neither brilliant nor awful, but somewhere
in between?
Will they say I never took any risks,
Never embroidered all my lovers or
Revealed my innermost self?

Like millions, I was always writing my book, a novel or
a handbook or an autobiography.
The truth is, I started too many times, and finished

I long for a place of my own, a library
A place to keep everything that means anything
A place to watch my family on the wall, laughing and smiling
While I write or sew or research or simply read
A place for being and a place for remembering and everything in its place.

I long to write without worrying about the consequences,
Long to say what I think
A place to scour the corners of my memory, to see the pattern of my life.

Will they say, they hadn't realised I was still alive? 
Will they say, I never kept in contact, which is true
I have tested my ability to live without them all
And I can.
What will they say about the person I have become? 
What can I say?  I tolerated difference and saw none.
I loved the people I loved
Did the things that I did
And I am not sure what sort of future I made for myself, or what past.

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