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Poetry Magnum Opus

Intimations of Mortality


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I step out the door of 17 Warburton Crescent

and I see the Indian restaurant before me

and the gates of hell at once on a slope below.

“Velcome, sa’ab, ve expect you soon”, says Amidullah Khan,

otherwise known as the late-night corner grocer,

and I remember thinking, “Well, naturally,

“the devil’s assistants are all these foreign chaps”

Stands to reason. Why, I could not tell you,

since I despise the National Front, and even take umbrage

at the braying thicks of the Conservative Party.

I have little time for Labour, New or Old,

and take refuge with the loveless Liberals.


Those times are coming to a close, I perceive,

by these and other signs, and by recent dreams,

and I will spend the eternity of yawning death

with the likes of Amidullah Khan and his companions,

as the Boss, I believe, is generally busy.

I was a child once, no different from you,

at a time when race or gender had no meaning,

and when one played in the garden, with or without friends,

and I threw the occasional petulant tantrum

to see if my parents really loved me.

As they did, very patiently, and as now,

I love the child of my own.

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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The implications, the perspective are done with your hallmark faithful, truthful and wry perspective. A glimpse into one Moment of one strangers life. Very, very good.



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At times, pain forces us to read or write, or find other pursuits that distract. (Yes, I took another tumble.) A student of History, even this poor one, once hooked, sees even Brendan's poems through that wide prism. (Just a little dig, Bren).


"The times, they are a-changing," as always, sometimes faster than others, sometimes so fast we are fooled and completely confused about even which corner to turn next. Seems pretty damn fast-moving now, but age can make it seem that way. Seldom does a generation recognize one of a latter or later time, nor give a crap. Who reads History unless required? Only new generations can save us (re: post world wars,) and the chances of good tidings seem slim, even to the point of wanting to throw in the towel. We seek comfort in familiar things, even those we loathe. Our bunch may be the last lucky ones to enjoy the written works of Twain and Trollope. No doubt, similar thoughts have overcome other ancient bunches.


Thank you for toiling on with your far from mundane life that seems so mundane. Thank you for the "devil's assistant," with whom I readily identify and suddenly notice moving all about.


Perhaps this too-long reverie properly belongs in another place, but my stamina has drained away just to get this far. Obviously, the poem brought me pleasure, a resounding success in my little cave. fd

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This piece goes out in several directions, but not (I fear) either chronogical or historical: nevertheless, the central theme comes through. When darkness encroaches we need to shine a light.


Cheers and best wishes,


Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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David W. Parsley

Brendan, this poem has a "Hotel California" feel to it. Like Doc, I like the wry-squinted perspective, just walking right on in knowing who is running the place. "So this is where all that effort and bumbling around has led," the narrator seems to say with a mix of skepticism and exasperation, disappointment that there isn't any group worth joining. "The best lack all conviction," as Yeats would say. One of your better pieces, to my ear.


Thanks (I think),

- Dave

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David W. Parsley

Oh. And I really like the ironic nod to a Wordsworth staple, too. Just adds to the rich texture of the poem.

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