As time runs short, stretched thin, elasticated,
I find that fears enlarge by grim degrees;
This afternoon, heaved out and yet conflated,
My chest ignited dread that will not ease.
How brave we think we are, until pain’s trials
Remind us our imaginings are born
Before the test — scant foil for terror’s wiles,
When hope can only hold our hand, forlorn.
Belay, then! Might not liquor and soft laughter,
Sweet memories and morphine — and a friend
Not scourge those flights of ‘happy ever after’?
With courage counterfeited at the end?
It gave me a turn, I can tell you, The sudden inversion of inflation and conflation within the lungs, like a giant slumping down on you as if on a bean bag. The real concern of course was — and is — is this a taste of things to come?