The Final Phase

to all who looked

could bear to look

he was diminished

a skeleton of man

the faintest stamp

 

a vague tattoo upon

earth’s crusty dermis

his ink near finished

vibrant shades now

faded by his hands

 

a pencil etch-a-sketch

self-erasing shaken with

each dram and draw he took

a tracing watercoloured

in a wornout painting book

 

a disappearing frame on which

the cloth of life was worn

to disassembled threads

eliminating, obsoleting

even with each breath, he dreads

the final phase, the loss of vocal chords, the emptiness, the void of words – the stoking fear as death draws near, the absent smile, an unchecked tear – the fatal blow that takes him from those loved, those lost – the furtive reek encroaching, the avalanche, the bitter cost – the vapour misting, the misfiring heart, the solemnities, those torn apart – the shitting and the palour, the wasted times – the pungent puke of silence, he could taste the signs – his shell, it crumples, crumbles, vanishes and then – his one enduring, fleeting, ever-breathing thought that he should live, and live again – denying not his errors nor his sins long past – he sits, transfigured, mute, disfigured, and awaits his last-

behind the neutral mask

the fading screen

the maybe thoughts

of one still barely living yet

the might have beens

the deep regrets

desire to delay

the realisation

he cannot stay

a dying friend

and his careworn wife

the thoughts of death

the longing for life

no substitute

no greater bond

he sits and waits

for the not-so-great beyond

no consolation

in the years he had

too soon departing

husband, dad, grandad

a face resigned

while his heart’s aflame

no, no consolation

and I, I cannot him blame

for in the journey

we will never know

the choices taken

nor our time to go

By Her Side

Carry forth on angel wings the needs I bring before you,

By light, your dynasty, to her provide,

Make feather-light her troubles and her sorrows,

I need you now to be close by her side.

In absence of my presence be her friend there,

Envelop her in love and bring her ease,

Cushion soft her blows, I need this from you,

Expectant faith I have so hear my pleas.

Shelter her from more of life’s hard taskings,

Enough is more than anyone can bear,

Be near her now and comfort, hug her closely,

Hold her gaze and let her see me there.

Light upon her, give her joy, I’m asking,

Tenderness where lack has been long gone,

Carry forth on angel wings the needs I bring before you,

Be her strength for me till she’s made strong.