Uncle Frank

I think sometimes I have seen

moments of a dreadful clarity

surfacing like long forgotten fish

in the faces of those dying unprepared

in nurse-clean sheets who see

suddenly the character of their minute.


Luckily perhaps those whose grip was never strong

seldom see approach their whimpering ends,

they fade away, old soldiers gibbering,

minds meaningless and wrong.


But - you ! Lying now incontinent

breathing the odour of your coming corpse

a few months foretold,

vacant now your stare

the television screen not comprehended.

That silence when you paused

and looked at me --

How much, your silence, was it eloquent ?