Discussions With Death
A poem and a prose piece conversing with, and reflecting on death. Because it is a compilation of poetry and prose I have placed it in the I am what I am category
Death your cycle confuses me
Is it random choice or plan
Do your allies pain and suffering
Lead you by the hand
I accept your inevitability
From the moment one is born
But your seemingly random harvest
I look upon with scorn
You took my brother at 11 months
My husband’s father at 49
What method do you use to determine
Each individual’s allotment of time
Some candles extinguish easily
Just one short puff of breath
Others keep flickering – reigniting
Pain filled drawn out death
My precious son was 26
When he called you to his side
He begged for you to claim him
Your refusal led to suicide
My darling husband was 63
When you stole the sparkle from his eyes
We’d just learnt to laugh again
It’s your timing I despise
There are those who say “God’s will”
But in that I cannot believe
Thanks to you I’m now an expert
On the many ways we grieve
I am ready for you to call
You no longer frighten me
I may yet beat you at your game
You’ll just have to wait and see
‘My death waits, like a witch at night’ so sang David Bowie.
Death waits for us all; sometimes so impatient he tires of the waiting and pounces. He is an intemperate bastard, with no thought for the effect his actions have on those whose lives he stumbles through; mumbling, roaring, staggering, strutting, full of himself and the power he wields. His perversity is mind blowing.
‘No I’ll not take that one, the one who is crying out for me to claim them; I’ll take the contented one, the one who is not expecting me, not yet ready, or maybe the wee babe sleeping peacefully in its cot, better yet the one still in the womb.’
There are some troubled souls who tire of the waiting game death plays; they take matters into their own hands, choosing to end lives that have become intolerable for whatever reason. I have heard it said that suicide it the coward’s way out, but I disagree, I think suicide is a courageous act. You see there are so many variables, and death is such a powerful shit. What if he refuses to claim us, if it amuses him to leave us in a vegetative state; drooling, unresponsive lumps no longer able to control our bodily functions, or worse, mentally alert but unable to communicate, stuck in some painful, powerless half life with no way out, waiting on death’s decision.
I got all excited the other day, was at the doctors when he noticed a mark on my neck, said it could be a basal cell carcinoma and I should have a biopsy.
‘OK’ I said ‘I’ll have the biopsy but if it is cancer I will happily let it take its course’. He looked at me with a gentle smile on his face, you see he knows me and my readiness for death.
‘This type of cancer rarely causes death’ he said ‘if left untreated it will eat at your flesh like an ulcer and cause you more pain than you already live with, your quality of life will deteriorate further’
‘Bugger’ said I smiling at him, ‘In that case I’ll think about the biopsy, because right now I’m not ready to have needles and scalpels poked into my neck’
‘Alright’ he replied ‘but don’t leave it too long because the larger it grows the more invasive it is to treat.’
‘Bet you don’t get too many patients who are disappointed when you tell them what they have is unlikely to kill them’ I said as I stood up to leave.
‘It’s not a common occurrence’ he replied, resting his hand on my shoulder for a moment.
So for now my death continues to wait. I refuse to plead with him to come for me, that satisfaction he will have to do without.