Then She Died

She knew today would be the day.
Much hope had been her sole companion,
the whispering of agile things
in starched white blouses, earnest hats,
so suddenly adrift and near
from corridors of mixed emotions,
where laughter meets its triste opponent.
An arrogance of confidence prevailed,
which could and did on most of these occasions
devour the small vestiges of such competence,
that faith and suits from London tailors
had been successful in deceiving
all those whose time had come but for good reason
were ill-inclined, though ill but not inclined
to throw the towel, no instead, they sought a cure.

Now under ordinary circumstance no man would think,
that, once your 'use-by-date' has passed and God has deemed
that you have used up all your heartbeats and your breaths,
why man would be presumptious in his vision
of being able to ignore our maker's wishes.
Is it the oh-so-human trait of being of a mind
to be a tinkler and a tamperer and one who would exploit
all glaring differences between the incognito
and the aggression aimed at his own fellow man?

There are so many and such highly skilled procedures,
and tons of pills and potions, tinctures and smart creams.
There are the budgets proudly read behind closed doors
and mammoth hospitals where sanity won't enter.
And, yes they do, make no mistake about this fact,
proclaim their science and the holiness of it.
Few are alert enough to recognise distraction,
all chrome that glitters also hums and thus persuades
the victims of the greatest con on this big earth,
that it were feasible and needs to be applied.

Lest you agree with those few doubters and agnostics,
that nothing can and no one will come to your aid
with tools that work or medicines that cure.
What is the truth then, you may ask with anxious passion,
are we not curing illness, even death in man,
have we not added years through miracles of science
to mankind's span that was near thirty-five, not more?
And does our screening not save millions from demise,
you surely jest when you dismiss and shun white coats.

To which my answer is a hearty, half-forced laughter,
we have been given, each, a number which is firm
and will not yield to the pretense of intervention.
The heart contains this counter, named the Cyclic Ogler,
its click is final though it does not make a sound.

Now getting restless in the room that was reserved
for those whose next of kin had asked for the remark
to be displayed upon the chart for all to read:
'Do Not Resuscitate', as no one saw a point
in prolongation of a life so close to death.
It was a question though of budgetary reasons,
as recommended by insurers of good sense.
Why interfere with Mother Nature's normal flow?
Yes, why indeed, this was the question that divided
the dying patient in the ward's most lonely room.
And those who dealt with thousand illnesses at once.
In both the need to rise and conquer all the heavens
was of a strength that moved no mountains but much doubt.

The door now opened very softly and two caps,
all white and starchy breathed their whispers to the bed.
(It is quite easy to imagine chests are moving
when we resist the end of life and will not see
that which reminds us of our mortal, final weakness) .
They had decided that the time had still not come
and went again at early dusk to ascertain,
when like a ghost she sat up tall in her small bed
and said in tones that meant no nonsense and no kindness.

'I do not see how any living person can
in this most boring room that's fit only for Death,
be in a mood to make her earnest preparations
to meet her maker, still in time for the first supper.
I do intend to do what God himself decided,
and time is running and an early night is calling.
So, hear my voice you girls, I only have one plea:
Do close the door and let the old girl die in peace! '

by Herbert Nehrlich

Comments (3)

a moving tale, well told
Hello Herbert, I wish I had your ability to tell a tale like this one. I agree with Chrissie - Gripping and extremely well written. I have to wonder who in the world would give this a low rating number... I have proudly given it a '10'. Hugs, CJ
Gripping and extremely well written, Herbert. Chrissie