Imagine that I had not survived the big operation, and I was hovering above my now lifeless body. I have no doubt I would have composed this poem on looking down in dismay at this turn of events.
Here lies a head that often ached.
Here lie two hands, that oft did shake,
Here lies a brain, of odd conceit,
Here lies a heart, which often beat.
Here lie two eyes, which often wept,
but in the night, they seldom slept,
Here lies a tongue, that whining talked.
Here lie two feet, that feebly walked.
Here lies the stomach and the breast,
Where loads of indigestion pressed.
Here lies the liver, full of bile.
Here lies that, nauseating smile.
Here lie the bowels, human tripe,
tortured with wind and twisting gripe.
Here lies the nerves, so often twitched,
with painful cramps and poignant stitch.
Here lies the back, oft racked with pain,
Corroding kidneys, damned chilblains,
Here lies the skin, with scurvy fed,
with pimples and eruptions red.
Here lies a man, from top to toe,
the body framed for pain and woe.
It’s got alas, a cancer death,
Compressed the lungs, and stopped the breath.
These poor organs could no longer go,
because the bellows had ceased to blow.
My spirits oh! So sadly sag.
I couldn’t resist that final fag.
When this last poem was published in America, and I received a few
strange e-mails, did I realize that a ‘Fag’ means something entirely
different there. Oops!