I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

29 November 2011

Rubaiyat: Ways of Going

My days are slowly drifting into rest —
a kind of ease and yet a kind of test.
Though slowing age has made me leisurely,
I miss being quick and busy; I miss my zest.

And still I say I’m lucky. Not for me
(not yet at any rate) the agony
of cruel illness, not for me the blight
of dimming mind in dread senility.

I think again of her mind, young and bright.
She’s ready now, she says, to enter night.
Her mind is housed in an invaded brain,
the tumour slowly crowding out her light.

She’s tired of fighting, certain it’s in vain.
Shut away from sunlight, trees and rain,
she turns eighteen but must not celebrate.
Her mind and body learn increasing pain.

I don’t believe she has one certain fate —
but she believes, raging and desolate.
‘Live fast, die young ...’ Some fools might count her blest;
but she’s been neither fool nor profligate.

I’m old: I’ve lived a life, fulfilled a quest.
I watch my sun start dipping to the west
with no great eagerness; but I admit,
aching for my young friend, I come off best.

Submitted to ‘imaginary garden with real toad’, Rubaiyat prompt nd also to dVerse Open Link Night #20


  1. a sad tale...kind of...having lived a full life to know it is time i think would be comforting as well maybe...a final rest...nicely done to form...

  2. This is a heart-breaker! Sometimes life is unfathomable. Thank you for this exceptional Rubaiyat - you made the form your own.

  3. Thank you, Brian and Kerry. It was what was there to be written, uppermost in my mind at the time.

  4. Elegiac and lovely, Rosemary! xxxj

  5. oh my...eighteen..this moved me to tears rosemary..

  6. 18 is so young and yet, maybe she herself knows it's her time to go. We each come here with a destiny to fulfill, maybe your young friend has fulfilled hers.
    Heart-breaking for her family who have to let her go, heart-breaking for all whose lives she has touched through her life.
    Very deeply heart felt.

  7. I think she is just plain tired of the struggle. She has been told from the start there was no hope, which I think was a mistake on the doctors'part though I can perhaps understand their reasons. Yet they have worked to keep her alive so far. She is sad and angry at the loss of all her dreams for her future. Also she can't understand why she has had to endure these months of pain and sorrow instead of going quickly. She is a very talented girl at writing, painting and acting, with passionate political views, so it seems a great waste of her promise.

  8. So young to suffer...I feel your words here. This is very touching... I hope she finds her peace at the end ~

  9. The form here really helps make the strong emotion in the subject matter go down harder, better...and it is the saddest of tales, I agree. I am the last one to understand why this stuff happens.

  10. Very sad. Terrible. I've seen some situations like this. Impossible to understand and accompanied, as you've described so well, by the pain that you cannot share your own age with someone else, your own good fortune. K.

  11. "Some fools might count her blest;
    but she’s been neither fool nor profligate."

    What wonderful words. This is very classic and refined. The poem is a fine piece of writing.

  12. Thank you all, dear people, for the kind and understanding comments. @hedgewitch, yes the form helped. The necessity for rhyme etc. made for greater dignity of language, which I'm glad of for this subject and probably would not have equalled in free verse.

  13. Heartbreakingly beautiful poetry. Sometimes a jolt like this puts the small niggles of age into perspective.

  14. Thank you for writing this to focus our attention on the matter is such a beautiful manner.

  15. Rosemary, this poem is heartbreaking. I feel so sad for this young woman...far too young to be facing death.

  16. I'm very moved by this Rosemary... unfathomable tricks... Your piece has great dignity and strength.. very well achieved in describing the pain of this situation.

  17. I have always contended the change is not so much age as illness although often they are coupled; here hope wanes when the disease overpowers a young person. The heartache is eased through the effortless flow of your words and the structure in the rubaiyat of your poem.