I’m getting old. My friends are settling down;
they’re less messy when they go these days,
no bent Ducatis at the edge of town,
nothing left on streets to hose away.
They go in bed now, which I suppose
anyone would wish, given a choice,
propped on clean pillows, the family close,
framing their last thoughts in their last voice.
Better, surely. But if the funerals of youth
mourn lost potential as much as fact,
elders’ eulogists must grapple with truth;
with life behind us, we must hope for tact.
Though I don’t suppose it matters after all
what the living say, or if indeed
they even notice; whether we hit the wall
or wither, the same end is guaranteed.
Things will happen, birds contrive to sing,
trees, forests, fall; the sound will live
in other ears, the beat of drum and wing
part of someone else’s narrative.
All that matters, all we have, is now:
the past is gone, futurity’s a parlor trick.
This candle flame is everything we know,
the light and heat we make of wax and wick.