Signals to myself




It has taken time to realise that these small changes

are incremental signals of  approaching decline,

not terrifying, just  inevitable and not to be  ignored.

The precursor was cancer,  so discrete it was  almost secret,

but  careful doses of poisons delayed  that creeping act.


Childhood’s lurking chicken pox mutated to shingles

 erupting unnoticed around a vulnerable right eye,

only discovered by chance by a trio of doctors

who gazed and conferred like  witches in Macbeth

before banishing it back to limbo,  with suitable lotions.


The eight-mile walks have just  shrunk now to two

as ancient damage to the right  knee ramps up pain

and the once straight leg takes on  a new shape,

causing a twist in the stance with resultant back ache.

Uphill walking still is easy, downhill walking  a farce.


Corrugations  in flesh mark where the muscles were.

Skin’s aging brown marks slowly spread their message

the smooth ones artistic, the coarse ones more sadistic.

I have come to accept  this old body’s increasing displays,

strangely grateful to these warnings on the limit of my days.


Already, I have lost the  Spring call of Chiff-chaffs

and can no longer hear  the joyful screams  of Swifts.


Back to Top