Monday, 19 October 2015

Eyewitness OR Engaging with Mortality

We all complain about the quality of our lives from time to time, some more often than others. It can take a tragedy to put things into perspective.

Life is for living. Everyone has his or her own perspective on life. We all want different things and that’s how it should be. [Thank goodness we are not a race of clones…yet] Nor should we let some well-meaning person try and live his or her life through us.

Sometimes, it can take a tragedy to make us realise we should never (as we are sometimes inclined) take anything or anyone for granted. Our ambitions, aspirations, dreams…Yes, these are are ours and ours alone, yet worth so much more with the willing participation and active encouragement of those we care about; even so, not everyone will understand, and it’s down to us to make what we can of it all. .

So let’s get on with it, and give it our best shot, make the best rather than the worst of whatever life throws at us...while we still can.


I saw someone dying in the street,
a man crying his heart out;
no last, moving words of love
and comfort, body, barely stirring
under a blanket

Blue eyes on a cloud white as snow,
wondering why the crowd won’t
let go, wishing it would, yet afraid
it might, and what would happen then
to the poor cloud?

Is there really a place called Heaven
that will take us in, make pain
go away, carry us on angel wings
where love and peace breathe new life
into dead things?

What is Death that we should fear it,
seek sanctuary, and who’s to say
God knows best, isn’t an invention,
alternative vision to the worst of nature
that is and is not human?

Parents say this and teachers say that,
while hymns and prayers are sweet
on the ear but fail to ever make clear
just how affairs of the spirit truly relate
to any happy-ever-after

Cloud and Death in human form
moving on in an ambulance,
sirens shrieking, crowd dispersing,
no one chancing any knowing glances
penetrating their defences

The crying man was but (like me)
a passing stranger caught out,
briefly sharing (rats in a sewer)
the mentality of survival, ever turning
on eluding The Catcher

The sun came out, shone in our faces;
from a nearby market, lusty shouts
and smells, odour of mortality spent,
returning me to family and friends, often
taken for granted

Now, I think no less of weepy heavens
for angry clouds, feel humbled
by the reworking of a street tragedy
adding to Time’s, oh, so temporary reality,
a lasting epiphany

Copyright R. N. Taber 2004; 2015

[Note: An earlier version of this poem appears under the title 'An Accidental Life' in 1st eds. of The Third Eye by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2004; revised ed. in e-format in preparation.]

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