You spent your life struggling;
Resisted change, or else whoever intended to change you.
You refused to leave or then stay wherever they meant to make you.
You burned in the sun and froze in winter’s cold
But you were always one and the same: unyielding,
Adapting to be true to your principles;
He who was not won over by left dialectics
Or subjugated by the right hand,
You always took pride in that.
Non-one ever knuckled you under
Nor pointed a gun at you, it wasn’t necessary.
You watched both war and peace go by, and each
Was the sadder and the more bitter as its time was passed.
Little ever changed.
You never meant your name wreathed in glory,
Though you’d not allow it to be soiled undefended;
With words, no clubs or stones;
With deeds, with deeds, with life.
The way a man can do.
And upon death’s day come,
In spite of it all, you were not ready yet.
You got up, kissed your children’s picture;
The one awaiting at work
And the one they killed.
You looked at your wife
You searched in her eyes
For her usual love
And there you found it;
Went out to the street,
Heard the screaming
You saw your neighbours
Walking by busy.
It was on that last day,
As on any other
That you looked up to the sky, as usual,
Looking for a word
Not coming yet, but in your heart;
Acknowledging yourself, serenity
Upon a long day’s toil ahead.
And when Death
Took your body,
Little by little, relentlessly,
Unannounced and determined
To not let you go,
You thought of how little of you was being left behind.
Whether more or less could have been done
Was a statistical anecdote
For those who were left abandoned.
On the day of your demise
No doves flew over in revering silence,
No crow’s caws and hover announced your departure.
When it was the time for you to go,
You did what you best could: die.
The news spread
The way the wind runs;
Your name flew
A few streets away
Throughout the neighbourhood.
Whoever did hear
Cried over their pain;
No-one to your life.
And yet nothing changed:
On your street
A little silence that night;
In the ‘hood
Your name in whispers for a few days;
In the town and in the city
It was not known.
Peace went on, and war, as always
Like before your life,
Now without it.
A few men were gathered
To secure the handles
On your wooden box.
Water kept flowing
And the sun slid across what was left of the sky
Till it set and vanished
From people’s sight;
They were not watching.
No fanfare to you
And no-one saw the angels
Coming down to meet you on earth,
All in a rush, before their time,
Draining off of the stone houses
Hiding their muddy crying faces;
The wind hardly
Ruffled some leaves in passing.
They carried you in silence
-once you were gone-
And the murmur went on in town
As the hatred among men;
Only the pain in your heart
Did cease to exist.