Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Poem: After Reading Philip Larkin's "Aubade"

Death is like a birthday
It’s a big day
And should be celebrated – with lots of folks around and wine.
But as often as not – it’s just us
Alone – going nowhere

And not coming back. That’s what makes it special.

It’s the shame of it
(As Larkin says)
It took so long to get to the point of NOT having to go out of a Saturday night.
Not having to run from boredom, from youth, from energy.
To find something exciting
Preferably a girl, but a movie’ll do,
Or worse, a TV show with cookies.

Now I’m of an age where I can comfortably sit and read the newspaper
Check my email,
Write my blog.

No problem.
So what’s the problem?

A life has been lived.

No, the problem isn’t dying.
We’re ready for it when it happens.
The problem is
What to do with this mountain of knowledge we’ve stacked up?
The wisdom, the experience -- all tossed into the circular file?
All the books we’ve read --
Opening doors we won’t get to open anymore,
The joy of learning

We’re too tired. The bones are ready for rest.

What good is that mountain we’ve built now we’re dead?
It’s like the gathering up the necessaries for a feast of thousands
Or all the artillery for a major battle.
And upon reaching the field it all turns to dust.
And the dinner guests – they have evaporated.

All that is left
The huge sand dunes of desert
All changing into disintegration
Atoms and molecules
Before your eyes.

1 comment:

rationallady said...

At least you have left this poem in the internet ether for others to ponder long after your death. I just read Larkin's poem for the first time followed by yours. They do go together. I am a person who feels the-self-she-was died tragically several years ago and now looks on her existence as a kind of afterlife. I always felt I was waiting for something up till then; now I don't.