What are borders for? Are they to keep others out? Or keep egos in?
Oh do go gentle into that good night, Old age can find deep peace at close of day; For love outlasts the dying of the light. And wise men at their end need feel no blight, For the light is safe with the wise that stay. Oh do go gentle into that good night. Good men, inspire those left with just how bright Our deeds can be, and model us the way, For love outlasts the dying of the light. Wild men who find out now they’ve been in flight - It’s not too late, take comfort on this day, Oh do go gentle into that good night. Grave men, near death, with your last dwindling sight Look in eyes around – love them whilst you may, For love outlasts the dying of the light. And you, dear father, may there be no fright, Let go in calm release, and know the way: Oh do go gentle into that good night, For love outlasts the dying of the light. (For those who dont know it, this poem is based on a villanelle by Dylan Thomas. I have always been a fan of the man, but not so much of this one - though I love the form.) Here is the original: Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night. Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, Do not go gentle into that good night. Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. And you, my father, there on the sad height, Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Using the breathing like a needle: in and out, sewing awareness.
Watching speckled woods dancing between light and dark not long of this world.
My ego would stitch past and future together as emperor's clothes.
This is a poem about the death of a friend of mine a few years ago in what I consider to have been horrific circumstances. It has been a long time incubating – as if the event caused a narrowing around itself of the arteries that carry words.
Having written the poem I also wondered if I should share something so bleak. Isn’t there enough that is difficult for us all to contend with without adding to it?
But in the event it did not feel like I had much of a choice – I felt compelled to get it ‘out there’, in this small way.
So much of writing seems to be about finding a way out. Finding a way to open windows and release the thoughts and feelings that refuse to remain bottled inside and are pressing to be included in the outside pool we all share. I would not want the flow into this pool to be restricted just to that which is joyful /pleasant/uplifting – that way, in my view, the water is in danger of becoming too shallow or even of drying up altogether. The pool needs to be sourced by the full range of our truth. And perhaps, too, our joys are only made possible through contrast.
No Windows No windows in the room that he died in no natural light no day time, no night just an airless stench of blight and machines wired in tight and his mind and his might and his insides in plight with no outside in sight no saving insight he lost his long fight in the room with no windows that he died in. No soul in the room that he died in no release and no healing just white walls and ceiling and a body beyond repair and nobody there just the silent shout of my hopeless despair. No place for a soul to reside in and no way to get out of the room with no outside where he died before he died. Much later I met up with myself in the hospital car park and looked for the stars so that I could worship them for both of us.
Before the starting blocks, After the finishing pistol, Beyond the irreversible passage of time, When the clocks have stopped, Outside this womb-shaped tomb, Who or what is there? No word comes no promises no lies.