Mad Uncle Jasper's Death

He died of an overdose of memory, the doctor said.
It accumulates in the coronary arteries, choking them up,
or at least, so we think. Either way, he's dead.
We looked at the riven face, his drawn nose a cup
which poured out the smells of heartbroken lungs,
his pale old man eyes closed behind satin lids,
adventures to Egypt and Australia killing as surely as guns.
The doctor said, in a tragicomic bid of comfort,

that the priest who'd given the Last Rites had smiled as he gave
the ash and the fire and the blood,
and had sung that as we age each time we move to act
we remember every other time we have lived that moment,
and so slowly we are petrified by detrital history.

the priest did not finish there the doctor said, young and awkward and embarrassed
he said that when we die the lead memory in our blood alchemises
pure gold streams leaving our chitinic shells spreading out across the world
swallowing all those we loved and even those we hated in the surpassing joy of life
for a moment, for a moment we are phoenified and fill the world with indulgent grace
before passing onto divinity before the Master's face

But I am not sure we understood that. There were meetings to attend,
a squabble over the Will to drag out, wasteful funeral bills.
I personally have my daughter's horse to pay for and a classic Jaguar to mend.
I told the doctor's superior this, and he cawed in sympathy and prescribed anti-depressant pills.

Owen Edwards

If you have any comments on this poem, Owen Edwards would be pleased to hear them.