Goodbyes sharpen sorrow sought in knowing,
Questions why and how death transmutes all time,
Farewells find pained pleasure in past knowing
Shared memories, now shrouded, once sublime.
Goodbyes taint the wonder felt in chances
Life would last and sad endings were a lie,
Farewell’s truth, untempered circumstances
Lost, the fleeting moments, censured to die.
Tho’ goodbyes break hearts with swollen starkness,
Unsheltered from the form of wailing near,
Tho’ farewells fling souls to doom and darkness,
Whispered voices can ease our unshed tears.
Goodbye to fears and could have tales we told,
Farewell to grief, each heart the light must hold.
Many years ago I studied the poem, ‘Icarus Allsorts’ by Roger McGough, as part of the war poems series my year group had to learn for a ‘major’ exam. I learned it by heart at the time. I think his poem is as valid today as it ever was although, back then, the preoccupation with impending nuclear war felt like a creepy necessity; a scary dystopia we more than imagined we had every chance of being part of sooner rather than later.
The last song, alphabetically, on my I-pod play list, as requested by Twindaddy, made me recollect this poem. It is ’99 Red Balloons’ by Goldfinger.
It floats now,
though one among many,
beyond the rest,
tethered in hearts,
faster, higher, stronger.