Somewhat heartfelt and nostalgic today......Jo was a schoolgirl with me. She was short, with very strong features, intensely blue eyes and curly hair. She was a very vivid and 'alive' character. I remember us standing in the school corridor talking about death.She said
'Well, there wont be any point living after sixty-five will there'.
I never saw her again after we left school, but I heard, recently, that she 'died young'. I wrote this poem before I heard the news. Which makes these words all the more poignant.
Do you recall how you and I
Discussed how it would be to die?
Do you remember how you said
'It will be restful to be dead.
When I reach sixty-four or five
I wont much want to be alive.
I'll realise it's time to go'.
You laughed, quite sure you spoke the truth,
Brimming with certainty and youth;
Life was a thing of verve and zest;
Death just a postscript to the rest.
'It would be mad to linger on,
When it was clear we should be gone.'
At seventeen, as I recall,
We knew it all.
I added my opinion then….
'Who wants to reach and ten?
There will be nothing left to see!
I'll have been all I'Il want to be.
I'll feel contented and complete;
Death will be welcome and quite sweet.
Who wants to be wrinkled, old and slow?'
Sixty years on, where are you, Jo,
Now that it's nearly time to go?
Oh, not tomorrow, not next year,
But the future's not in doubt from here.
Are you still sanguine and at peace,
Quite comfortable that life will cease?
Or do you reminisce and fret
And say 'Not yet!'?
There must be times when you declare
'It isn't right! It isn't fair!
There's still so much to do and learn!
It can't be true I've had my turn!
It can't be true there's not much more!'
Are you still wise and brash and sure?
Do you say 'yes' to death or 'no'?
I wonder, Jo.
My rusty lantern, old, unsightly,
Still bears a candle that burns brightly.
The body ages, stoops and fades,
But the mind still sings its serenades.
The passions and the longings last;
The mind still pleads 'Don't go too fast!'
Where did they go, the years between,
Had we a choice, which would we choose,
This tiny life we swiftly lose,
Or a vast unending stream of living;
Coming, going, getting, giving?
Would we choose a dandelion puff
And would forever be enough?
So, are you still content to go?
I doubt it, Jo.