Watching Death

I’ve watched old men die slow,
seen life take them low,
stripping their strength away blow by blow,
day by day,
month by month,
even year by year

until all that was left was a rattling shell,
hardly anything left that one could tell
had once been too eager to wait for the starting bell—
so many years,
so many memories,
so much of life ago.

I’ve seen, too, the occasional passing in middle age,
men I thought too young to turn that page,
caught by cancer and its slow rage,
a cursed crippling,
counting down life
cell by cell.

I’ve seen the hell their women go through,
long nights of agonized doing what they do,
hours of prayer from rocking chair and pew,
strength drawn from unseen sources,
their hands a chorus
of “I love you and I’m here for you.”

I am moved to marvel at such devotion,
a determined focus of chosen emotion,
love stronger than fear of weakening motions,
staying near
during that final breath,
believing that there are things

stronger than death.

H. Arnett

About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Ark City, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-nine years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-eight grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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