A poem I wrote against the day of your death…


When you are old and grey,
and full of something
not quite sleep,
I shall take your body

down from the shelf
where the coroner lays it
and do for you what you,
though you love me,
would be unable
to do for me.

I shall trim your fingernails,
your beard. I shall
comb your hair
the way you like it,
without pulling
or brutal tears.

I shall undress you,
peeling the horrid suit
the undertaker dressed
you in, all one piece,
disguised with zips up
the spine until you can lie
naked, unconfined,
the way that you like.

If I retain my hard-
earned strength,
if my limbs remain
firm at such extremity,
I shall carry you
across the threshold
to our bed.

If I am made weaker
than I mean to be by time,
I shall join you in yours,
for a few sweet hours.

Sleep calls to sleep,
one kind to another,
and if your scent has changed
or soured my breathing
lungs discount it.

When one hand grows chill
its sibling shall warm it.
I shall, for a while.
There is no last clasping
of hands matched as ours.

Our fingers are joined,
by more than these rings.
In lives, like our late
light-rising Saturday’s,
waking comes last.


About Bethany W Pope

Bethany W Pope was named by the Huffington Post as ‘one of the five Expat poets to watch in 2016’. Nicholas Lezard, writing for The Guardian, described her latest collection as 'poetry as salvation'.....'This harrowing collection drawn from a youth spent in an orphanage delights in language as a place of private escape.' Bethany has won many literary awards and published several collections of poetry. Her first novel, Masque, was published by Seren in 2016. Her second novel, Ordinary Lives: The Ballad of John and Mary, was published in 2018. Follow her on Twitter @BethanyWPope

Posted on May 12, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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