To a young man leaving

Couldn’t you have stayed a bit my dear?

Couldn’t you have waited, lived bright and big as your broad grin?

What devil took you up that night,

to drop you on the floor at three,

to know for certain we could do without you?

Couldn’t that river, torpid, dark, have scared you off,

made you put your pennies back

turned away from that flow

gone back to bed like us and deeply sighed?

Oh the things your eyes will miss!

The look of desolation at your retreating form

the space in bed that becomes a great abyss

eyes that search through doorways halls and rooms

flowers that bend your way as you softly go

grass that still cries out for your ambling tread,

all things will miss you now you’ve gone.

Couldn’t you have stayed a little while?

Couldn’t you have waited?

Such a brutal thing you’ve done to yourself my dear.

What black hooded judge hammered out that final charge

so you should not just sit upon that chair

not climb that ladder to the top

not gob down all those pills

nor scream the engine down the road

not take the gun down from the shelf

the thousand final judgements

passed on yourself whom we so much love.

We pin a medal on your big unhappy chest

thrust bouquets of wishes hopes and prayers

that is now so silent.

Now you’ll rest

so suddenly gone,

so utterly missed.

12/12/2021

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