The Old Man Tries to Think About It.
Iíll die, of course, one day, but I canít twist
My mind to think of when I wonít exist.
Yes, Iím aware that once there was no me,
(In times that seem apart, just history)
And I was nothing then, and soon enough
I shall be nothing Ė though, of course, this stuff,
This pink-grey skin, these bones, this lump of brain
May lie around for a while, but not again
Will I be there to be aware itís me,
Conscious of living, of identity.
Oh, I can wonder, sagely, fancifully,
About the shaping of some world-to-be,
Can ponder sci-fi progress, or project
Dystopias. Each future incorrect,
Of course, but more than wrong Ė those things I see
Are in my visions being seen by me.
And from my point of view, and not
By those alive when I am long forgot.
My mind evades attempts at any stricture
That keeps a thinking me out of the picture.
The only certainty I should be seeing
Is that of my eventual non-being.
This is the obvious fact from which I shrink,
A white and glaring blank at which I blink.
Two things, La Rochefoucauld said, canít be done:
Looking at death steadfast, or at the sun.
If humans try to look, at best we see
A mirror of our fears or fantasy.
Priests try to comfort us with hopeful chat
Of life to come, and some believe, but that
For me canít be an option. Deathís a wall
That hides an emptiness, a not-at-all,
A void, a vacuum, negated space,
Filled only with a notness we canít face.
Perhaps our brains are made, or maybe trained
To think in ways that are constrained
To avoid the issue, Perhaps we have evolved
In ways that ensure the questionís left unsolved.
Perhaps a man is foolish even to try,
So Iíll leave off -
Yes, I have got to die,
And so have you, and him and her, and soís the cat,
And that is that. Weíve got to live with that.
If you have any thoughts on this poem, George Simmers
would be pleased to hear them.