Elegy

We drink in the pub
We smoke and get high
Here is the rub
One of us must die.

The strippers of your younger day
Where are they?
Bodies grown old
Or cold.

I buy you beer
You talk of your fear,
Explain your depression
Make a confession.

Observe her sitting near to me
In a vision I forsee
Her fresh young cheek
Age scarred.
As a general truth
The hopes of youth
Are cruelly marred.

You say your moods
Go up and down,
Speak of the news
And the talk of the town.

Time is void, Nagarjuna said,
You are, were, will, shall have been dead.
You struggle, fear, resist, reject,
Relax, submit, enjoy, accept.

We discuss other things,
Like mediaeval kings,
But you feel that your mind,
Has lately declined.

Before and after, one retains
In memory, emotional strains,
Qualities of light and air,
Foul, indifferent or fair.

In a hospice bed
In a month or so,
Stone cold dead,
Both of us know.

The question is of when, not if,
You make your exit, shedding a stiff,
As the Indian stick insect sloughs its skin.

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