Nor The Sun Its Selling Power – Brian Patten

They say her words were like balloons 

with strings I could not hold, 

that her love was something in a shop 

cheap and far too quickly sold; 
but the tree does not price its apples 

nor the sun its selling power 

the rain does not gossip 

or speak of where it goes.

So Many Different Lengths Of Time – Brian Patten

How long does a man live after all? 

A thousand days or only one? 

One week or a few centuries? 

How long does a man spend living or dying 

and what do we mean when we say gone forever? 
Adrift in such preoccupations, we seek clarification. 

We can go to the philosophers 

but they will weary of our questions. 

We can go to the priests and rabbis 

but they might be busy with administrations. 
So, how long does a man live after all? 

And how much does he live while he lives? 

We fret and ask so many questions – 

then when it comes to us 

the answer is so simple after all. 
A man lives for as long as we carry him inside us, 

for as long as we carry the harvest of his dreams, 

for as long as we ourselves live, 

holding memories in common, a man lives. 
His lover will carry his man’s scent, his touch: 

his children will carry the weight of his love. 

One friend will carry his arguments, 

another will hum his favourite tunes, 

another will still share his terrors. 
And the days will pass with baffled faces, 

then the weeks, then the months, 

then there will be a day when no question is asked, 

and the knots of grief will loosen in the stomach 

and the puffed faces will calm. 

And on that day he will not have ceased 

but will have ceased to be separated by death. 
How long does a man live after all? 

A man lives so many different lengths of time.