Outliving (work in progress)
I wish I could celebrate the day, everyday
and passionately grasp each eminent moment.
But when I’m lying in bed not sleeping
often I feel I can hear her breathing,
subtle sighs and sonorous snoring.
It’s in those sleepless nights I hear her.
When the traffic’s gone
and the people are quiet.
there comes her bone-weary breathing.
Above that my wife’s lyrical night breath glides.
She’s sleeping, she’s resting.
But this is a distant deeper breathing;
the earth’s relentless respiration,
and in that rhythm I hear,
‘Can I stop now, is it Ok if I rest?’
and I’m sure I can smell the death whiff on those ancient wheezing breaths,
and hear the crackle of old loose flesh
over slack muscles and over brittle old bones.
Then I long to honour all she’s done for us;
all the constancy, all the giving and all the holding
and to say, ‘of course you can, you can stop now’
But those whispers are my weary wishes
and this old earth will be breathing long after I’m done.