Saturday, January 19, 2008


Rising eight hundred feet from the sheep-scattered pastures, oak, ash and birch, how skeletal and delicate they look, under rolling clouds, and framed in the study window.

Pink multi file
the worn elastic

Dog-eared foolscap of eleven sections. For a paper man a cardboard grave. Still filled with the previous project, a workshop on the Three Heavenly Messengers of Sickness, Old Age, & Death. What a jolly group that was – all things considered. The paper for recycling, but the leftover paper clips into the “Cough Lozenges” tin. After nearly eighty years what a relief to stick on a new label and to write, with the bold flourish of self-deception: “END GAME”.

Long corridor
the shadow
shackled to each foot

A lifetime muffled in projects. At age ten, a plan and elevation for a toy fort. The battleship grey filing cabinet stuffed full. And so many “gone away; return to sender”:

The last address book—
spread across dead friends
blankets of correction fluid

Bulldog clips grasp Co-op cheque stubs, and, in a marbled box, certificates, diplomas and degrees in imitation parchment. Old passport photos portray a sinister-looking succession, each pleading his lifelong lawsuit against reality.

Yellow telegram
the pasted strips of text
my father’s death

I laugh at my own funeral oration, so solemnly intoned and recorded when a precocious forty year old. Poking charred diaries. A lifetime of stories told to myself, one as good as another. Knock, knock. Is there anyone there?
Old summer house
settling out of true
to how it needs to be

Finally, the sending out of invitations to the Graceful Exit Party. From that celebratory wake I alone shall depart sober. And, on the back door, hammer the bottom line of a closed book:

Winter twilight
cutting timber by the Rheidol
all there is to know

by Ken Jones
Aberystwyth, Wales

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