Death of a poet

I know nothing
of death
don’t know
nothing about it
no really
nothing.

Death has never
touched me
no
never
not once
not at all.

Except in the distance
on the telly
in books
the colour supplement
on a Sunday afternoon
or over the phone
when you tell me about
whatshisname
or waking up
to discover that
it’s finally all over
the death is done
in the night
and all we have left
to do now
is stand around
an open grave
in the drizzle.

Or I’m out
of the country
when death comes
arriving in a letter
while I’m lying
in hospital
not knowing
the word for
bedpan.

So don’t put
that death
thing on me
it isn’t true
I deny it all.

I only dream of death
dream of dying
when I’m lying
awake
in my bed
can’t move
can’t speak
can’t sit up
and look at
anybody
how I long
to wake up
somebody
and say
‘I’m dying here’
but my body
isn’t listening
so I lie
and think
‘So this is dying’
and enjoy
the experience
because I want
to remember this
you only die once
and it’s really not
that bad
but lonely
so lonely
when somebody is
lying
beside you
and they don’t know
you’re dying
a lonely business
this dying
and cold
without feeling.

But it’s just a dream
a dream of death
and you wake up
on the other side
and know
it’s all a dream
you know
it’s not death
or maybe
a little death
we die
a thousand deaths
each night.

Because somebody
did die
I read it
in the paper
a poet died
in his sleep
lying
in his bed
but it wasn’t me
no
it was somebody
older
wiser
they’d done it all
before
were due
not expecting it
of course
but ready
to drop
to drop off
that night
and so they did
it was one
more thing
to do
but it wasn’t me
no.

Posted in Poetry.

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