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.