For 90 years, honest,
You must login to vote
self-contained, outspoken, kind.
You never laughed, who lived a life
that a wide-toothed seldom smile
was quite enough
of reckless joy. Your love for us
was like your manners: candid, grave.
I never trusted anybody more.
Loved less overtly, or with greater depth.
And all my adult life, I told my friends
that to be like you in old age
would be enough,
and radiantly brave.
Until the last, unfoolish and unvague.
Without the dogmas often left
when all the world has raced ahead;
or bitterness, or hate.
Clear-eyed despite the cataracts,
your mind is even now apart, unchanged.
Though myriad indignities,
incontinence and frailty
all has stained.
You’ve done your best
and never much complained.
But now you’ll take a stand
against diminishing returns:
your final, firm ‘enough’s enough’
won’t be gainsaid.
You’ll take to bed,
and finding yourself
not near enough to death
yet still too tired to stay alive
you will insist
on being a child, on being nursed,
without apology or blame.
I can't demur.
You always knew
(being raised with neither)
when the candle was no longer worth the game.
Shrunken and stubborn
waiting to die
your candour, even now
puts me to shame.