Monday, February 9, 2015

Poem a week 2: I would go gentle into that goodnight

Perhaps Dylan Thomas's most famous poem is "Do not go gentle into that goodnight.....Rage, rage against the dying of the light". As I've grown older I have come to disagree with it more and more.  It seems to me to be the cry of a young man afraid of being old.  Surely the old should be allowed to die in their own way not in a way chosen to please their children?

My brother-in-law Stan died at the very beginning of the new year and this crystallized my thoughts and I produced the poem below.  I've dedicated it to Stan a man who died with considerable grace suppoted by his wife and three daughters.  The picture is of Stan.

How I would leave

Dedicated to Stan Huxtable died January 1 2015
I would go gentle into that goodnight.
Old men should please themselves
Not vainly fight
The battles of their children.

We're not immortal,
Why should we pretend?
Hang onto life
Hang on to the last gasp with finger's end?

No when death comes
Then may I look him in the face,
Die as I wish that I had always lived,
And leave with grace.
    Nick Mellersh 2015

Here is a link to the Dylan Thomas poem Do not go Gentle  

And here is a link to another poem that I think has got it all wrong about old age.  "When I am old I will dress in purple."  I used to think "for God's sake woman if you want to wear purple better do it now. You may be dead anyway and even if not your colour preferences may be different".  But actually, on reading it, I find it is a sweet poem.  The author is Jenny Joseph.  I found it with poem another that amused me about how an old woman would get revenge on her children by running in and out without closing the door.  We must have all felt like that.  Anyway here's the link.  Enjoy the fun

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Poem a week 1: Christmas letter from the Family Schadenfreude

The one we all secretly hope to receive

Christmas letters from the friends are a great idea I have always thought. However the constant upbeat tone and the secret feeling of annoyance that every other family is much clever and more successful than your own brings mixed feelings (at any rate to me.) I long for a bit of schadenfreude (taking pleasure in my friends' discomfort.) So here's hoping for a few letters like the one below.
Time to take up my pen again, now, at the old year's turning
I'm pleased to say that 2014 has given our family lots of “opportunities for learning.”

In the bye-election we talked of last year Bill did get fourteen votes but sadly he lost his deposit.
He was doing so well with the Anti-Gay Alliance until he foolishly came out of the closet,

Daughter Jill is appealing over the withdrawal of funds from her Cambridge PHD,
And has a good chance of success, or so it seems to me.
It's perfectly true it really is much speedier
To cut and paste your research directly from Wikipedia.

There's been a significant change to James's glamorous wedding plan
The beautiful Russian Anastasia turns out to come from Watford and to be a man.

My health improves though I still have that cursed smoker's cough,
But I have much less trouble with my legs now they are both cut off.

You may be wondering why this letter is being penned by me rather than my dear wife Grace.
Well I have to report that she has moved on to what we are all sure is a much better place.
A place where the angelic listeners will never get tired
Of her charming insistence to keep on and on talking of the wonderful successes of her family and why they should all be admired.

I'd like to add more but the police are breaking down the door to arrest me for Grace's “moider”
So I'll down my pen and wish you a fun filled 2015 from the
Family Schadenfreude

Poem Nick Mellersh.  Clipart from