On One Younger Than I Am

Algernon Newton


Taken all too soon, a friend has flatlined and is now

Out of the picture. Which picture is meant? What does it show?

Immobility? This painting of these clouds above

Those chimneys on that day. Might it suggest just that?


A stillness which is how it seems on some windless

Afternoon? A stretch of grandiose pageantry?

We know its stationary quality for an attractive lie.

Even chimneys have their day. Time’s breezes overtake


The world’s rotation. Also the clouds keep changing

In relation to each other. Some will evaporate faster than

Their neighbours – who may say that they were taken

Far too soon. Some will break, pour down, soaking the lawn.


Some rise up higher, changing their nature, floating

In a sky more rarified. Only in the moment, as we glance,

Is there a coherent view, a fleeting notion of a generation.

Every cloudscape has its hour, and yes, our being here


Conveys a sense of lasting. Yes, we make our lives

Together, even if there are those fated to disappear

Sooner than expected. Generations move like caravans

Crossing the waste. One may start off earlier than the next,


Ending the trek just as the other sights its destination.

Sooner than is meant, we say of one who has made us aware

If only for a while, of how we have made the world

In which we have shared; tapestry woven together by


The threads we are – the scene rolls on only in our relationships.

Rolls on and away, as the clouds have done since clouds

Began – our best hope being that it is with pride

That we can say that we were the clouds that sailed together


And on, beyond the revolving horizon, on a particular day.

About anthonyhowelljournal

Poet, essayist, dancer, performance artist....
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