Of the morbid looming date –
Black holes beneath the surface of still water –
As shared remembrance comrades us
In darkening days: survivors, for now,
With permission to mark time, give thought,
To those who turned to face
The end we can’t outrun.

I should not have taken lightly to
Bad luck, or fate, or mal-invited:
Touch me at your peril!
There’s a contagion to consider.

Mortality’s reminders all around:
Mr Turner and his father, death-beds,
(Works of genius notwithstanding)
“My little boy”; “The sun is god”.

A pride male lion, outnumbered and
Consumed alive by his successors,
Still roaring, bloody, in the dust
After years of dominance;

Fox cubs hiding unprotected in their den,
Killed by mother’s rival;
A fledgling owl, starved to death by siblings;
A cat-caught squirrel, carried up the lane.

Life’s shocking pallid descant: the descent
Of young and old, fulfilled or nascent,
Abject or fearless, in an instant or an ordeal,
Countless unique encounters equalise us
Each with our bespoke version
Of life’s tragic endless ending,
The brutal truth of our condition:
Mere mortals, calling names against the wind.


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