by Jack Reeves
Jack wrote the following poem 50 years ago. It was inspired by some Methodist close to John Wesley.
I despise the peddlers of deception
Who could say “to die is gain”
And cloak tragedy with delusion.
They call death “Friend”--
“A festival on the road to freedom”--
Confounding truth with lies.
Understanding neither life nor death,
These squalid panderers compromise with
And seat death at life’s right hand.
At death let no one console me
With pious absurdities
About someone dying in my stead,
Or disregard my dread with the empty myth:
“The best of all, God is with us.”
Have I the strength,
With clutched fist
I will curse that one,
And his friend, my enemy,
Which since inception has
Stalked my life.
My life’s deep pain
Is that each moment
Is born poisoned.
Each day I live
In my shroud;
At night, my bed a coffin.
I laugh at my own madness and
Hope that by embracing death
I shall bar its defeat in life.
“Plaudite, amici, comoedia finita est!”*
*Applaud, my friends, the comedy is over. – Ludwig van Beethoven, on his deathbed, 1827