I had to ring my mother yesterday. She left a message about somebody being in hospital. It turned out that it was one of my octogenarian aunts. The trouble is she is ready to step through that door, but every time she manages to recover. It has also been suggested that my other aunt of the same age is beginning to develop Parkinson’s Disease. There has been no official diagnosis yet.

I found this poem by Helen Waddell in a chapter of a book by Richard Holloway that I got out of library yesterday. It seems to sum up the situation.


Earth said to Death
Give these a little breath
Give them eight days.
Eight days to feel the sun,
To see the limes in leaf,
Eight days . . .
Myself I ask no stay,
Mine is a longer day,
But theirs is brief.

Who rives me, does but plough my field for grain
But these, I cannot make them live again.

Give me eight days
And I will pour the silence of June
Into the April noon.
Wine of October in the vine still curled,
Then let you come
Darkness shall find their sleeping undismayed.
Who shall make them afraid
Who saw eternity
In the brief compass of an April day?

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