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Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Fear of the Future


The local radio
I work to that.
Last day, first week
in my new job.
I wash the old man
according to instructions.
Between two tracks
(Love her madly
and Good Girls Go to Heaven)
a voice invites us listeners
to send in views
on this week's topic:
the recent  rioting.
The views will be expressed
in four words maximum.
Example given:
Fear of the future.

Now from next door
another radio,
turned up too loud,
is drowning ours -
or nearly so.
Drives me to distraction.
How can they work like this,
my comrade undertakers,
busy with the mysteries
of barrier techniques?

We can't afford a slip
in case infection spreads...
Is every corpse infected?
I want to know,
but no one answers me.
The dead are living here:
an ever present threat.

Never speak ill of the dead,
my uncle said,
they can't speak back.
Dip into life's
delicious mix
of saintly joys 
and sinners' kicks.

Most people
who have ever lived
are still alive,
he also said.
So when you die
you join a more
select community.

14 comments:

The Elephant's Child said...

I do love the idea of joining a 'more select community'. Thanks Dave.

Dulcina said...

The undertaker, not a funny subject this time.
Two spine-chilling lines:
The dead are living here:
an ever present threat.

Your uncle was right:
Most people
who have ever lived
are still alive.

Who's not afraid of the future?
Here's my view on this week's topic: Fear the living.

Daydreamertoo said...

I would not wish to live next door to an undertaker. No way Jose! Too many spirits maybe not ready to pass over yet, all close by. Ohhh...
Nice write Dave, yes, never speak ill of the dead.

kaykuala said...

They die with their boots on, not literally though. But they ought to be made ready for the last journey. Morbid. Only special people are made for this calling. Awesome write,Dave!

Hank

Brian Miller said...

intersting piece man...i have a childhood friend that went on to be an undertaker...its got to be a bit weird spending the day with dead people but he treats them with reverence...thanks for making me think a bit today dave

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wow, Dave, what an unexpected topic, but so interesting. I love the idea of the "more select community"........

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

I agree "a more select community", the dead. That the best and most subtle way towards faith.

Ygraine said...

I reckon that just about sums it up!
But when I join that "more select community" I only hope it's much more friendly and less self-centred than this one!!

Windsmoke. said...

The last stanza definitely sums it all up for me :-).

A Cuban In London said...

I loved that last line. I often tend to think of death as the end of something and it might be rather the beginning of something else. Rotting, perhaps. :-)

Greetings from London.

TARIQ MIAN said...

everyone dies sooner or later to join the more select community.
Nice poem Dave!

cloudia charters said...

I enjoy THIS select community!



Warm Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

> < } } (°>

Dave King said...

The Elephant's Child
Well you will - eventually. As will I. See you there! For now: many thanks for the comment.

Dulcina
No, not funny. Neutral, I'd say. The living rather than the dying, I'd agree with, but there's a lot of ambiguity there.

Daydreamer too
I had an aunt who had a flat over an undertakers. She was cool about it. I also taught in a primary school right next to a crematorium: all day every day we'd see the processions, one very fifteen minutes, and then the puff of smoke. Didn't seem to bother anyone.

Hank
I believe in the trade they are known as "those who wait". Don't we all?

Brian
Thanks for the response.

Sherry
Yes, I agree: it has a lot to commend it, I think.

Tommaso
I think that might well be so. Thanks for it.

Ygraine
I'm sure it will be, no one will have anything to be superior about, will they?

Windsmoke
I guess that is the best (i.e. most reassuring) bit.

A Cuban in London
This is something I've thought about. I did post a poem as part of the thinking process. It's at
http://picsandpoems.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/life.html if you are interested. Thanks for the comment.

TARIQ
Indeed, if you can't beat 'em...

Cloudia
Thanks. Come join us!

Kat Mortensen said...

SO good! I love the "between two tracks" bit. Going to have The Doors ( that choice in itself is amazing for so many reasons) iny head all weekend now.

Definitely one of my favourites-- washing the old man recalls visions of my dad's last days.

Another winner!