“Too often, it seems, they do not understand

why we resist (against all reasoning)

that other world which lies so near at hand:

a room with one of the family, the sensible thing,

or a Sunset Retirement Centre, replete with friends,

medical staff, social activities, bus-trips, all

the many comfortable ways in which our ends

(and theirs, of course) can be accomplished by the small

surrender of living here, where home says what we are,

lit, as it may be, by the evening star …

So small a sacrifice (you’d think!) and yet

so large and threatening a one for us,

who have so many losses to regret

when we’re so aware we’re near the terminus.

We sadly shake our heads: from where we live

can they not see that this or that new move

could be, would be so definitive,

and that although they come to offer with love

an alternative life, so much that’s gone

now calls to us to honour that lost past

which made us what we are, and later on

will, like a new-found lover, hold us fast?

Those other futures which they hold before us

can never tempt us and are bound to fail,

even though they plead in caring, sharing chorus

—gently but firmly (or with tooth and nail)

we must forego them to that final day

when whatever we have left is taken away.”


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