by Vernon Scannell

I’m very old and breathless, tired and lame,
and soon I’ll be no more to anyone
than the slowly fading trochee of my name
and shadow of my presence: I’ll be gone.
Already I begin to miss the thing
I’ll leave behind, like this calm evening sun
which seems to smile at how the blackbird sings.
There’s something valedictory in the way
my books gaze down on me from where they stand
in disciplined disorder and display
the same goodwill that well-wishers on land
convey to troops who sail away to where
great danger waits. These books will miss the hand
that turned the pages with devoted care.
And there are also places that I miss:
those Paris streets and bars I can’t forget,
the scent of caporal and wine and piss;
the pubs in Soho where the poets met;
the Yorkshire moors and Dorset’s pebbly coast,
black Leeds, where I was taught love’s alphabet,
and this small house that I shall miss the most.
I’ve lived here for so long it seems to be
a part of what I am, yet I’m aware
that when I’ve gone it won’t remember me
and I, of course, will neither know nor care
since, like the stone of which the house is made,

I’ll feel no more than it does light and air.
Then why so sad? And just a bit afraid?

From Last Post by (late) Vernon Scannell , published by Shoestring Press

Copyright Guardian News and Media Limited (published on Saturday November 24 2007 in The Guardian)

4 Responses to Missing Things

  1. MS says:

    “There’s something valedictory in the way
    my books gaze down on me from where they stand
    in disciplined disorder”— These lines thrust into my heart immediately upon reading this poem….wonderful.
    Thanks for bringing it to us

  2. Shaheen Sultan Dhanji says:

    Great inspiration! The poem is very thoughtful and conveys the emotion beautifully…

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Sidhusaaheb says:

    I was also touched by the profundity same lines as MS…for different reasons though…I had to look ‘valedictory’ up in a dictionary! 😀

  4. IMeMy says:

    The pangs of separation seep through the lines to dampen the reader’s heart that feels the loss and the fear perhaps more than the writer did.
    Beautifully penned!

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