Poetry and Pictures from Tyneside by Alan Hartley

tyne poetry headerPhotograph ©Carol Haynes.

Who's Next

gravesWe wait and watch and worry now,
No cynicism, no schadenfreude,
About who's next.
One thing's for sure, it'll be one of them.
Only God knows which one, I'm glad I don't.
I only know that we will miss him/her,
The rest of us, the hangers on.
Ah yes, we know it all too well,
That's what we are: the hangers on,
The ones who cling to that most precious thing,
The only pearl of any price that's left,
Now that they've gone,
The ones we loved the best.

Perhaps the time has come for honesty.
Is this the way it's meant to be
For us, the hangers on, the very old?
Long gone the fear of sudden crash,
The blinding flash that ends it all
For the unlucky ones who go too young.
Only the cold, slow-dawning truth,
That though death always hurts those left behind,
For us who feel its breath, it's not unkind.
Now that we've enjoyed a good long ride,
And seen the best of it,
Why should we sit and watch the show again
When there's a queue outside?

Roll up! Who's next? Who's next? Now let me see.
It can't be him, he's gone and so has she.
So who the Devil can it be?
I know.
Oh! Bloody Hell!
It's me!