Thursday, 4 July 2013

S-word in the Sheath, Testament to the Human Spirit


Today;’ poem first appeared in a Poetry Now (Forward Press) anthology, Worldly Words (2004) and subsequently in my collection the following year.

As I grow old(er) I find myself thinking about death more and more often; not morbidly albeit not morbidly, and I don’t find the prospect in the least distressing. I guess I am more curious than anything else. A non-religious person, I don’t believe in any form of life after death as  many people like to imagine it. At the same time, my relationship with e nature gives me hope that after this winter of my life, spring will come again.

I have to confess I remain fearful of pain and try not to think about it, but death holds no fear for me at all. Yes, I will miss the people, places and things I love most in this life, of course. Poets, no more or less than many if not most of us, are always up for a challenge, and what greater challenge can there be than death?

Incidentally - and unrelated - I would like to thank all those readers who have been in touch to ask about my prostate cancer. I am fine. Hormone therapy continues to keep my prostate cancer from becoming aggressive.

This poem is a villanelle.

S-WORD IN THE SHEATH, TESTAMENT TO THE HUMAN SPIRIT

Death is but a word,
a poet’s metaphor,
sheath for a sword

A dark sound heard
at the inner ear,
death is but a word

Its presence assured,
meaning obscure,
sheath for a sword

A threat endured,
challenge clear,
death is but a word 

Our fear abjured,
by Love’s own favour,
sheath for a sword

Its blade removed
draws kisses in the air;
death is but a word,
sheath for a sword

[From: A Feeling for the Quickness of Time by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2005]


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