A Conversation with Death

It was an idle Tuesday, if I correctly recall

That we struck up our first conversation

When I saw you from afar, in that indistinguishable bar

Before approaching you with some trepidation

 

It wasn’t your appearance that caused unease in me

Nor was your disposition of any note

You stood casually cool, amidst an overflowing pool

Of mediocre men guzzling beer down their throats

 

Though a stranger detached, in my presence you knew

That I’d been waiting for this my entire life

To look into the eyes that could reveal my demise

And in the final crescendo, release me of strife

 

But death, like skilled men, knows how to tempt

To tease his prey before relenting

To her whimsical needs, and her heart that bleeds

For a dance with the devil that churns deep within

 

“Why does a beauty like you choose me amongst men?”

Are the first words that death utters to me

“Because you’re the only solution, to the mental pollution

Clouding the impetus that wills me to be”

 

“From this deluge of men, the only insight I’ve gained

Is that I am unequivocally alone

Each stale interaction masks a vacant distraction

And so I ride a breath that’s already flown

 

“Death, prey tell, how does a man of your stature see me?

Where do I teeter between suffering and success?

I need your clarity of vision, and your ultimate decision

That will guide me away from all this distress

 

“My adorable girl, how you do make me laugh

For I am not your martyr, nor your salvation

That you have sought me out, proves beyond reasonable doubt

That I must avoid the lure of temptation

 

“You see, my imperative’s to remain incognito

So that the dying should never fear my advance

When with a nonchalant step, I draw them closer to death

While affording them an affable glance

 

“Petal, this conversation is not of that world

And there are still many bars you must frequent

Before coming home with me, so much awaits you, you’ll see

Because your life, my dear is perfectly decent”

 

Then death retreated beyond the beer-soaked haze

Where I was left to converse with me

Awake to each breath, I felt vindicated by death

Now at ease with a future that I could not foresee

 

angel-of-death

Photo: I often envisage death as an average man you might meet in a bar; unassuming, and often unnoticeable, but once he approaches, you’re utterly ensconced in his world and there is no turning back.

If I were a fool

If I were a fool

I’d call upon my four year old self

In moments of catastrophic despair

Because I’d know that the indecipherable ramblings of a child

Hold far more wisdom than those of an articulate adult

 

If I were a fool

I’d give heed to these arbitrary words

Unencumbered

Uninhibited

Unpretentious

And unyielding in their honourable truth

 

If I were a fool

I’d ask more questions than there were answers to

Of more people than were willing to listen

Cognoscente that whilst society equates knowledge with power

The most profound power comes in knowing that we know nothing at all

 

If I were a fool

I’d act repeatedly on impulse

Well versed in the song of regret, I’d sing it with pride

Trusting that one day one of my ill conceived decisions

Will prove to be the most intelligently conceived of all

 

If I were a fool

I’d strive for diversity

Knowing that to dabble in a plethora of people, places, pastimes and professions

Doesn’t make me fickle or lazy

But instead cloaks me in a tapestry of texture and colour

 

If I were a fool

I’d recoil in shame at the hurt I’d caused others

But endeavour to calm the pangs of guilt

Because no suffering I’ve ever engendered

Has belonged to anyone other than me

 

If I were a fool

I’d see pink elephants dancing in the sky

Believing them to be as real as the taxes I pay

I’d solemnly swear that I was Juliet incarnate

And that Romeo stood but a Cupid’s arrow away

 

If I were a fool

I’d allow myself to indulge in the imaginary

Because selective naivety is not stupidity

It’s the keyhole through which we see the unseeable

And the vision that arms us with the courage to open life’s door

 

If I were a fool

I’d be afraid

Of failure

Of heartbreak

Of boredom

Of loneliness

Of longing

Of grief

 

If I were a fool

I’d be alive

To success

To love

To stimulation

To connection

To satisfaction

To gratitude

 

I’d be a fool to be anything other than foolish.

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Photo: “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool” said the greatest fool of all, William Shakespeare.

All is well in the sky tonight

The sky quivers tonight

Stars dart across an infinite canvas

Hesitant to mark their spot on the black

 

Something’s amiss in the stratosphere tonight

Why else does the moon wear its knowing face?

That neither welcomes bedlam, nor turns it away

 

The planets tango in frantic haste

Defiant that the music will stop

But it will. Stop.

 

The sky is so fragile tonight

She may just shatter into a million pieces

And lay scattered across perpetuity’s floor

 

The sun casts her rays in apology

For what her light may reveal

Scenes of menace burst from her beams

She longs for the dark tonight

 

And then. Stillness envelopes the uneasy sky

The stars align in perfect constellation

The moon nestles into a tranquil smile

As the planets lovingly skip to a halt

The sky exhales a cosmic breath

That pacifies the sun’s raucous rays

 

All is well again in the sky tonight.

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Photo: It’s comforting to know that somehow, the universe, in its incomprehensible infinitude, is exactly as it is

Ten Thousand Years At Sea

It’s been ten thousand years since our eyes last met

On the day you submerged me in blindness

Your eyes so determined that I should forget

That they’d once been a vessel of kindness

 

A ship that steered me through treacherous seas

Your lashes fluttered like sails in the wind

Though all I could feel was a delicate breeze

That playfully tickled my back while I grinned

 

As the rigger, cabin boy and quarter master

You excelled in each post with tenacity

Never once grumbling that you had relented

To me – so unworthy in my captaincy

 

As I darted each day from starboard to port

Veering off course at the behest of the tides

I ignored your cautions to ‘abort, abort’

Pre-empting my peril, you still stepped aside

 

So from the plank I dived with whimsical glee

And near drowned in pursuit of a mermaid

Risking all to be a creature of the sea

Knowing very well you’d plunge to my aid

 

Though we shared the same deck, our hopes never wed

As we tried to make sense of our passage

Your eyes, they were fixed on the waters ahead

While mine were lost in a sky so lavish

 

And in this vein, we circumvented the earth

An unruly captain and her one-man crew

Refusing to moor at the pleasing berths

When this was all you’d ever wanted to do

 

Ten thousand sightless years have come to pass

Though more vivid my vision has never been

Your ship was my compass, my beacon and mast

This, I see now, what I should have then seen

 

And so on that day when you released your tears

Delivering to me what was rightfully mine

An ocean that’s wept for ten thousand years

Over a love adrift with the swells of time

 

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Photo: Are we not all sailors aboard a ship, trying to navigate our way across the vast, ever-changing ocean?

Grasshopper in a Tree

My big sister grew remarkably tall

Before I was even able to crawl

Her limbs, they towered over mine

And from way up there, beyond the skyline

I often wondered, what could she see?

Plenty, I was sure, when she’s as tall as a tree

 

But most days she tended to climb right down

To where the falling leaves hit the soft grassy ground

Showing patient love as she played with her Gás

For years on end totally engrossed

In a grasshopper’s world, so much smaller than she

Yet always happy sitting by the trunk with me

 

That’s what I see looking up to the blue

Her eyes like clouds watching over you

B is the branch that blows out of the way

So that others can soak up the sun for a day

Needing but a droplet of water to quench her thirst

Because a big sister always puts her little sister first

 

I gaze at her branches as they sway in the breeze

From down here they seem to sway with such ease

But I know B can often camouflage her pain

So that others won’t feel the drench of her rains

This is a marvel for grasshoppers like me

Who grow in the shade of their big sister’s canopy

 

As I see how her roots have made her so tall

Drought upon floods, B’s defeated them all

With a quietly cultivated and formidable strength

She’s twisted her way to considerable lengths

To revel in a life she now proudly leads

With her head spiralling well above the other trees

 

And that’s what a grasshopper sees in the height

Of a sister she’s copied with inexorable might

Oh, to be as tall as the sky soaring B

So I can finally lay eyes on what she can see

Yet, as the grasshopper rummages by the tree’s foot

B urges me to relax! And just stay put

 

Because otherwise she wouldn’t be able to play

In the garden below that takes her breath away

So I see what a combo we are tall and short

Though different in stature, we’re still the same sort

Two sisters who adoringly love one another

For there’s no other sister that either would rather

 

In the end, it’s no matter where I sit in the tree

So long as I’m sitting next to my B

 

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Photo: The sacred tree of life eternally connects us to what we were, where we are and who we are yet to become

The Offer

If I were to offer you the secret of time

And reveal how its passing could be confined –

 

Would you accept?

 

Oh but of course!

Day on day I grapple to capture each breath

That exhales my life and edges me closer to death

 

What fool would decline

Infinity’s tonic

That abolishes time

And its nagging wife

 

Who’s a ruthless reminder that it’s all apt to dissolve

Along with dust-gathering moments of stories untold

 

Eradicate time and regret is gone

So too is the saddle of guilt

That’s laden with mistakes and the promises we break

As all our dreams are destined to wilt

 

Yes, it’s true that distress ticks with time’s callous clock

But you see, the paradox of it all is this –

 

That time’s fleeting nature is also the source

Of a bordered life that’s bursting with bliss

 

Without time, you would not try

To be who you are or to ask yourself why

 

Why am I here and what is this for?

How can I improve on who I was before?

 

Who do I love and why do I care

That I’m so overcome with feelings of despair?

 

At the thought that I’ve not been true

To what it is that I set out to do

 

In a blaze it will be categorically gone

So honour time obediently

Make it yours with this breath…

For nothing drives us more than immediacy

The_Persistence_of_Memory

Photo: The enigma of time has baffled philosophers and artists alike for centuries, including Salvador Dali who was particularly fascinated with the fluidity of time

A Wedding Rhyme

Standing within these garden walls

There’s a distinctly buoyant glow

That emanates from Sars and Tobes

Two of the happiest people I’m privileged to know

 

Today, like all days, they’re dressed

In matching sunlit smiles

Beaming at the vista ahead

As they skip excitedly down the aisle

 

Though very alike, each has also composed

A deeply personal tune

One revelling in the other’s sound

As they dance together under the same moon

 

Sars brings to Tobes’ world a vitality

From which vigour and courage abound

Such that he sprints towards life with a giggle

Whenever his beloved Sars is around

 

And with Sars, Tobes shares his humanity

Marked by a man who’s boundlessly kind

Which fills Sars’ heart with gratitude

For having snagged such a precious find

 

Drawing from one other’s wisdom

These are two masterful artists of being

Painting life’s canvas with their vibrant colours

Knowing that what’s simplest is also most freeing

 

Their shared disposition is so very rare

In that no matter what toils they’ve bled

Each is unyielding in the faith they serve

To never choose fear, but always joy instead

 

And in this glee together

They have travelled far and near

Cycling the road of adventure

In tandem, towards each new frontier

 

From speaking Spanish in America’s South

To carving the Canadian peaks

They’ve inhabited India’s chaos

Before unwinding on the beaches of Greece

 

These the two boldest explorers I’ve met

Can attest to the true meaning of wealth

That comes in the form of lifetime travel

The elixir for their sparkling health

 

Yet what makes Sars and Tobes special above all

Is the love they so generously share

In abundance they give without question

Showering all their adored with tender care

 

It so follows that it was surely ordained

By the stars that lit their spirited souls

That these our two most treasured creatures

Would make one another perfectly whole

Sar&Tobes

Photo: The inexplicable bliss of sharing in the wedding day of loved ones