Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Morning Reading: "Death be nimble - life was quick"

Yesterday was World AIDS Day. I've been amiss. So many missing through the years.

Here's a poem by Charles Barber.

Fairy Book Lines

Death be nimble –
life was quick
Efficiency’s a modern trope
To be expected
with impatience
Not less
when bearing death
Or a low-burning illness
slow as memory.

Though death’s old-fashioned
and enters the room
Like Sonnambula,
bearing a burning candlestick.

Double, double
toil and trouble;
Triple sadness,
endless sorrow:
Like friends sitting too long
by the hospital bed—
Like the T.V. watching you
with paralyzing glare;
While the night-nurses
in soft-soled shoes
Wheel in the confections
to ensure your misery
Will last a long tomorrow.

The world’s so full
of a number of things
Now never to be savored
Never to fire
a subordinate employee
Destroy a marriage
position an M1A1 tank
On desert children.
Marveling at such achievements
is a sure way
To gladly sacrifice
a number of things
The world has always favored.

Poor old Charlie,
he swallowed a fly;
The fly was drunk
with M.A.I.
Buzzed here buzzed there
Till a well-seasoned fever
stitched in hues
Of delirium-like gold,
cooked in a broth
Of bacterium stock,
festering with forgotten dreams,
Took hold—took him—took life.

Twinkle twinkle
eyes in pain;
Retinitis makes
its awful gain.
Eyesight’s a form of breathing
–like glass
Full and rich with freedom.
Now a bag
slides over the head
too bad!
So long to the world
So long desired:
darkness sucks you down its drain.

Fly away, fly away
over the sea,
Sun-loving sick boy,
for summer is done.

First the pneumonia,
canceling the lung,
Followed by a possible list
of viral, bacterial, parasitical,
And let us not forget fungal.

The slow-covering growth,
so like nature,
Slowly returning the body to earth,
adrift in underground.

(photos: Gideon above, Peter below.)


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