Posts Tagged ‘death’

Only Yesterdays

Oh the times we could have had

I’ve lived them all

Mostly by myself.

Sometimes a little too often

Or so I’ve been told.

Yet, they give me comfort.

Simply moving on is never an option

At least for a mother

And more so in times, a father too.

Most times

In my imaginings

You are grown

And it is Christmas time

Our favorite time of year

And the fire is blazing

The tea is poured

Our Christmas tree is lit

And warming our hands by the hearth

We sit in silence

Smiling

Remembering all the days that came before.

Sometimes a chuckle breaks the silence,

“Remember when …”

And a story begins

No doubt, events embellished by the years,

All the while sipping our tea.

Eating our biscuits.

Warming our hands.

And living in moments,

Never lived.

© 2010, Tim (P) Prendeville

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Graveyards

No one runs in a graveyard.
No one shouts.
It is peaceful,
Calming,
Walking amongst those who came before.

Tip toe and listen to the silence,
Whisper the names of those you meet.
For most of those you chance upon,
You are their only visitor,
Save the daily procession of  new arrivals.

Who were all these people?
What lives did they live,
The same as I do now?
Did we share the same fears?
And joys?
And hopes?
And dreams?

Did they live lives fulfilled
Or take regret with them?
If given one more day to live,
What is it do you suppose they would do?
Where would they visit?
Who would they see?
What words of advice would they speak?
I can only imagine it would be magnificent,
Throwing off all the veils of a superficial life,
And living for one more day,
A lesson learned only in death.

© 2009, Tim (P) Prendeville

Second Chances

How quickly lives can change,
And how those decisions and judgements of the past can come calling.
Some made in haste
Some not
Some made with feeling
Some that were not
Some we stuck with
Some we could not
Some that brought joy
But some that did not.
And for those we must atone

So fragile is our human ego.
We speak brave words to others
Yet to ourselves,
In the quiet times,
And ever so humbly
We question ourselves.
Where is it I am going?
Where is it I have come from?
How will people read my life?
When will it be over?
Maybe tonight?
And if so,
What is it I leave behind?

In the cold and dark of loneliness
In that place you have no hand to hold,
Or a shoulder for leaning,
Where will you turn?
When those decisions made in haste,
Their results now laid out before you
Come calling,
Will you find comfort?
And if offered a second chance,
Where all can be made good again,
Or at least the possibility,
Will you take it?
For some such a leap of faith is beyond their grasp,
But for others,
Not.
Which shall you choose?
I choose change.

© 2009, Tim (P) Prendeville

The Watch

Sometime this year, probably because I became a little obsessed with the passage of time in my own life, I began purchasing antique watches on E-bay.  One of the watches I purchased was from a man who was selling off all of his father’s belongings; I can only assume that he had died.  It struck me as odd that the man would be selling his dad’s watch, a watch he had worn through all of World War II as a Co-pilot on a B-17 in Europe.  With the watch came it’s history (I asked all kinds of questions) and I was able to find photographs online of the actual plane, the crew, and the father.  What drove the son to sell the watch?  From that watch comes this poem … I don’t know how accurate, if at all, the story is that I tell of the watch … but …

Sifting through your life,
Those trinkets and treasures you cherished,
Each now for sale
To strangers who will perhaps wonder,
Who was this man that once lived.

Your watch still turns,
Ticking time ticking time
Ticking time away,
Oblivious to your passing
As I was to your living.

Black and white photos scattered,
Show a young man smiling.
That is not the man I knew.
That is not the man you became.
I never met this man.

When you were young,
And owned the world,
Did you feel as I do now?
Will I too grow old and embittered,
Resentful of a youth adrift in time?

I could keep your watch,
And wear it all my life,
As did you through yours.
It could be a reminder to me,
That I once had a father,
But I wont.

© 2008, Tim (P) Prendeville

Moments Lived

I have many firsts
I hold them close
They keep me young
If not in body
At least in mind

My first crush
Unrequited,
A lesson in life
Learned well.
Not all is for the taking

My first kiss
Returned.
The feeling of a hand in mine
Accepting me
For me

My first days in that big world
The one my mother spoke of,
Walking the streets of London
And finding no gold.
The grass is never greener

My first hard lesson learned
On the Spanish Steps in Rome,
A romantic place for some
A brush with death for others.
Lifetimes are sometimes short-lived

My first true love
Fast and fleeting,
Ultimately tragic
Defined by moments
Now lived in fanciful daydreams

My first great loss
Life’s reminder
That all of this is not permanent
And preparation … though wise … is futile
Where matters of the heart are concerned.

My first true fear
What is it I will leave behind?
What memories will my children hold
Of a father who struggles
In a world no longer his own

(C) 2008, Tim Prendeville

Forget me not

I had to drop my car in for some work today, and having a couple of hours to spare, I ended up strolling through the graveyard behind McCarthy Motors in San Luis Obispo.  This may seem morbid to some, but for me, not … I’ve always found graveyards fascinating places to visit, a reminder of our fallibility, and how temporary and fleeting our visit here is.  I always pay particular attention to the dates, trying to tally up the time period in which someone may have lived or died, with something I may know about from that period.  Today, while walking through the graveyard, off in the distance I saw a gravestone, and tied to it some balloons waving at me; little toys lay scattered around the headstone.  I continued to look at the gravestones left and right of me, but the balloons kept calling me back.  I imagined it to be the grave of some child, no doubt the balloons left by grieving parents and siblings … probably would have had a birthday around about now, hence, the balloons …

I made the rounds of the gravestones, cleaning some dirt off of ones long since forgotten by time, without a visitor to speak of in perhaps decades, and finally made it to the balloons … It wasn’t the grave of a child … the balloons had been left by some children for their dad on mothers day … ‘Scotty’ Fairbanks, born 1967 / died 2005, aged 38.  There was a picture of him on the gravestone, flashing a smile and the ‘Iry dude’ finger wave, and wearing a Hawaiian shirt that only California and Hawaii would allow … I can’t explain why, but I felt very humbled standing there alone with my thoughts, in front of the gravestone of a person I had never met, a grave decorated with balloons and blanketed by kids toys.  And for reasons known only to those who understand loss, I also felt unimaginably sad and close to tears.

I took a walk today and saw some balloons waving at me from a distance …

Just some random lines inspired by a stranger

© 2008, Tim (P) Prendeville

The last breath

For much of my life I was fortunate,
And within the oblivious beauty of ignorance
I lived my days unaffected by your reach.
But you were patient,
You bided your time
You had no rush.
With a cold impassioned precision
You went about your business.

From time to time our paths would cross
But we never did converse.
It was a blessing I counted too quickly,
And took far too much for granted.
When you did come calling,
It was not by invitation.
Like a thief in the night
You let yourself in.

You defined a life with your touch
Pushing aside all that came before.
That which once was happy
Will forever now be seen with sadness.
And those forced to the fringes,
With smiles and hushed voices
All the while watched,
All the while waited.

Life’s pendulum should be unseen
The history of our to and fros,
Not displayed for all to see
Like pages from a book.
Life should be lived in the moment,
One that has always been now.
It should not be lived in fear of a day
Beyond our choosing.

You had but one redeeming quality
The gift of goodbye,
But it came with such a price.
With a cold impassioned precision
You set to work.
Year to year
Month to month
Week to week
Day to day
Hour to hour
Minute to minute.

© 2008, Tim (P) Prendeville