Someone I’ve known since I was twelve
Happened to tell me the other day,
‘We’re now on the shady side of the hill;
‘Not many more days to play.’
But I found myself pretending
I hadn’t heard what he’d said –
The implication being so unsettling:
He was saying we’d soon be dead.
Then he pressed the point by asking me,
‘Thought how you’d like to go?’
I said that I hoped he wouldn’t mind
But I’d been planning to say ‘No’.
‘You can’t! You’re mad! It’s against nature!’
I said, ‘I can do what I like.’
‘You see, thanks to love, I can ignore death –
‘It’s as easy as riding a bike.’
‘Are you denying the evidence of your senses?’
(You could cut the atmosphere with a knife)
‘Death’s stalking you right now!’ ‘Is that right?
‘Well then, death should get a life.
‘Luckily, I said, life can strike you like lightning
‘Even though you may be at death’s door;
‘A lover’s glowing smile can make you immortal;
‘A loving look can override physical law…’
‘Well, there’s no fool like an old fool,’
Interrupted my skeptical friend,
‘I’m sorry that you’ve become delusional.’
I said, ‘love tells me there’s no end.’
‘Ecstasy can postpone every deadline;
‘The three words, “Love conquers all”
‘Are an elixir to lift your feet off the ground…
‘The shadows retreat. You walk tall.
‘But if you have to die, then think of making love
‘By the final flicker of life’s flame.
‘Imagine being carried away by love’s endorphins
‘And dying fearlessly, while you came.’
The death-orgasm is a useful life-skill
For through its bodily Big Bang
The soul’s fired into a universal womb –
Painlessly reborn without a pang.
illustration ‘Amore maturo’, Elena Caldera