Memento mori

All you know for certain is you’ll die
and so will all your friends;
you spend your busy life avoiding this,
the only thing you know.

You don’t know how – a slow death
years away, the heart attack tomorrow,
the wasting of disease, a sudden accident,
gunfire in the morning, or just old age.

It’s bound to take you by surprise.
You’ll enter that great loneliness alone –
no matter who stands round your bed
dispensing grapes and misplaced cheer.

You’ll forgive them for their lack of truth,
hear the frightened prayer behind the cliché:
‘Doctors can do amazing things these days …
‘Please find a cure for death before I die.’


©Virginia Rounding, 1994

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