LIFE FORCE – TWO

mantegna-samsondelilah

Pen & Ink drawing of Andrea Mantegna’s ‘Samson and Delilah’ Oil on Canvas, c.1500, in the National Gallery, London. . . .   WHB – 1994

LIFE  FORCE – TWO

“These fragments I must shore against my ruin.”

I wish to put a hold on life,
freeze it at this instant;
stop my headlong race to reach
some intangible resolution
before life, and with it death,
overtake me.

Yet, a wanton fervour
forces me to write;
a defining greed pushes me on;
a need to achieve,
to find the telling phrase
to verify my competence.

There is a frenzy on me,
a new lust for life
alien to my past;
but still I draw on that very past
to colour the present
and steer me into my aspired future.

My imperative is to leave an imprint
on the foreshore of my life
before its tide recedes.
Regardless of renown,
I wish to leave a noble fragment of myself
with a proven hint of worth
to carry me beyond my grave.

Such fragments,
the flotsam of my endeavours,
washed up  and left
for those seashore scavengers,
those ardent beachcombers
of other people’s detritus;
my scraps left for Autolycus to pick over.
I need the harvest of my life to be
another’s prized perception,
their acquired inspiration.

And yet I know I must desist,
I must allow those morsels,
slivers of myself already extant,
to speak for themselves,
to represent me to the future.

I must accept
that already
I have utilised my credit with the past
and created my memorial for the future.

“These fragments I must shore against my ruin.”

bar152

The quotation appearing at the beginning and end of my poem is, slightly adapted, taken from T.S.Eliot’s poem  “The Wasteland”.

 

The impetus to write my two ‘Life Force’ poems – this second of them in free verse – also derives from Andrew Marvel’s poem ‘To His Coy Mistress’ – in particular, many readers will recall the oft repeated couplet from this poem . . .
But at my back I always hear
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;

 

Delilah, of course, took away Samson’s Life Force, his strength, by cutting off his hair whilst asleep.

 

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