Monday, 4 October 2010

Death list

When I open the door
an autumn leaf falls from my sleeve
and I look down to see
the familiar envelope on the floor
names of the newly dead
it is suddenly with me
like an early October morning
ex-colleagues who had not died
until now
they had simply
faded from mind,-
Declan and Alan
John and Henry
he was always known as Harry
and Sue and Arnold, he made it to 92,
and then Joan and Don
and Dorothy - just 57 (how very sad)
then Ray, Ken, Bob, and Brian,
Brenda, Gladys, Ruth, and Frank,
and then the two Rolands, and so it went on
line upon line
and thankfully my name wasn't there
this time

ps- a change of tense can be a strong technique


  1. ... my name wasn't there
    this time

    Great line for this poem.

  2. Wow! Powerful! We all get these 'death' lists sent to us from old employers don't we. Perhaps we should get a celebratory 'still alive' list.

  3. Thank you Pat, Mike and Gordon. May your names not appear on the updates of the dead for many a long year.
    Gordon, re your "still alive" list idea, what if my name is the only one left on the list? (I think there's a potential Roald Dahl story in there somewhere ...
    Strange that these lists appear in October, the month of Hallowe'en and graveyard spooks


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