Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Last Farewell


If this day were to be
 my last,

I would die

the long shadows of autumn

as light filters through the apricot tree;

celebrating the chattering flight of a fantail;

rejoicing in the architectural splendour

of a Bach partita, arch after musical arch

soaring upwards.


The tomorrow when I will be dead,

there still will be a lilting blackbird's song,

the iridescence of a spider's web

but I will not feel the lack.

It's now, when the day's last sunlight

flames horse chestnuts against the darkening hill;

there's the yawning ache at a remembered loss.

Tomorrow will be different.


The trajectory of my death

has changed over time.

Ten years ago, the idea of death

was spiritual, focusing me

on the beauty of the moment;

tree lined shadows,

conversation with a fantail,

Bach's grand pinnacle of sound.

Five years later, even though

I had one tentative foot

across the threshold,

I was still introvertedly

gazing back at the moment I had left;

a spider's web, blackbird's song.

But now, five years further on

with death shadowing my every footstep,

I have been forced

to face that I was afraid.

In my fear I relegated

my friends to the outer suburbs

when they really belonged

on the main thoroughfare.

If tonight were to be my very last,

I would be desolate

at leaving behind

a lifetime of friends.


  1. This is a beautiful poem Diana: wise and serene. For me it has echoes of The Altar of Silence, which remains one of my favourite poems by you.

    Thank you for this poem, it has made my beautiful late summer day even richer.
    Viv x

  2. It is beautiful, somehow in this poem sorrow becomes at one with peace. This is great lesson in living, at the same time as it is an encounter with dying.
    Thank you, Diana

  3. A poem that we may all learn from; reminded me of this wonderful musing from your old friend, George Eliot:

    "I like not only to be loved, but also to be told that I am loved. I am not sure that you are of the same mind. But the realm of silence is large enough beyond the grave. This is the world of light and speech, and I shall take leave to tell you that you are very dear."

  4. Thank you, Diana, for this lovely poem which has enriched my evening.