The Day I Died


On the day I finally died there was
a lot of confusion. People kept bringing me things
they thought I might need for the journey –
most of them turned out to be quite unnecessary:

a warm cardy in case it was winter when I reached
the other side, magazines to read on the way,
travel guides, a thermos of minestrone…
But the trip took no time at all

and when I arrived it was mid-summer
and so quiet in the forest I could hear
the haunting, half-remembered tune
that on earth had always eluded me.

So this is death, I thought, an end
to all the distractions! A chance
to sit on the porch with your feet up
and play along, finding your fingers

still know the chords. I opened my mouth
and the words were there – they just came out,
together with all these extra verses
I’d somehow learned while I’d been away.

Old friends kept dropping by to say hello
and staying for a song and a beer.
It seemed I’d only been gone a week
instead of… How many years was it again?

Everyone here sends their love to you; it’s hard
to explain, but I’m seeing things in a new light.
Oh, and there’s no need to bring anything
with you – just the words and music of your life.