When i first see you, shrunk within a coma,
exposed, as such, within a sparse ward bed,
i don't see the person i know with senses awakened,
the person i know, alive, seems taken.
I see someone, reduced to very much less instead,
registered by this institution of respite, i understand,
in its records, as soon-to-be-dead.
Standing by you now, seeing that little left to be attended,
ending, i surmise, utterly wordless, without expression, paralysed,
that belies all that i have known of you in your life.
But for your ears that may hear, though your eyes won't see,
addressed to you in your unknown depth of captivity,
locked in stiffened pose, i prepare my first tentative hello,
hoping that you may comfort something from that,
and not appreciate the that much more which can be said,
or if, then let it escape, that left unspoken taken not to be heard.
I weep for you, the Walrus said,
I deeply sympathise . . .
let us walk, you and I,
into the strength of the Sun this day,
step into the glare and the heat,
feel your eyes retreat, and reflect,
exposed as we are, on this long
bend down with me
and finger the fired sand,
grasp it within your hand, see,
it's not rock reduced
to smoothed grain,
but fragmented seashells,
shards, detritus, and touch again.
all along this strand are billions of shells,
beached and bleached,
it's a landmark dump
of derelict shellfish generations,
washed up and laid down,
those accreted, to found this shore.
now let us say that these shells
are the tailings of our own kind spread,
do we now hesitate to step on them,
not mollusc, but man instead?
do we feel uncomfortable
walking on lives once lived,
our soft soles sometimes rubbing,
stubbing toes on those
upon whom we now stride?
are we journeying the same path
on that of our lives not yet spent?,
talking of hot air rising
above simmering hard-boiled seas,
talking of minutiae shelled and gutted
and spread upon our battered daily bread?
and what about the implications
of sunlight at night on oyster beds?,
and how much we should sympathise
should a walrus go unfed?,
and how we would weep
into our handkerchiefs,
to see such quantities of sand
tread more quickly now or
we'll sink into the past,
and while life is such a beach
that it will grind us to the last,
we are not yet done, not just yet,
not finally crushed to sand,
the Sun defers again
to the deepening dark,
it has not yet
forever set on us.
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