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Let's Die
by
Pat Boran


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'Let’s die,’ I say to my kids,
Lee aged five, Luca not yet three,
and under an August blanket of sun
we stretch out in the grass on a hill
to listen to the sea just below
drawing close, pulling back,
or to the sheep all around us
crunching their way down towards earth.

'Do you love the clouds, Dada?’
'Do you love the Pink Panther?’
and 'Will you stay with us for ever?’
to which I reply, without hesitation,
Yes, Yes and Yes again,
knowing that as long as we lie here 
everything is possible, that any of the paths 
up ahead might lead us anywhere
but still, just in time, back home.

Like me, sometimes they act too much, 
filling the available space and time 
with fuss and noise and argument,
but up here, overlooking the landscape, 
the seascape, of their lives, on this hill 
they like to play this game, to lie 
together and together to die
which, in their children’s language, means 
less to expire or to cease
than to switch to Super Attention Mode, 
to prepare for travel, to strap oneself
into the booster seat and wait and wait
for the gradual but inexorable lift 
up and off and out into motion.

For my two boys, things are only
recently made flesh, made mortal—
our uprooted palm tree, two goldfish,
the bird a neighbour’s cat brought down 
last week—and they are almost holy
with this knowledge. 'Let’s die now,
then let’s go home for tea,’ Lee says, 
putting into words as best he can
the sea’s helpless love affair with the land.
 

From The Next Life (Dedalus Press, 2012).
Used here with the author’s permission.

 

Purchase a framed print of this poem.

Pat Boran is a poet, author of fiction and nonfiction, publisher, and radio broadcaster. Born in Portlaoise, Ireland in 1963, he currently lives in Dublin where he works as an editor and broadcaster. His most recent book is Waveforms: Bull Island Haiku. Learn more about him at www.patboran.com.

 

 

 


New comments are closed for now.
kevinpower:
Maybe the truth is always a little uncomfortable and double-edged. Some readers decide the writer here must have invented the game (because he suggests it at the beginning of the poem) and therefore they feel uneasy. But if we think about it, and read more closely, we see that this is in fact a kids' game (one that many of us will recall) and the adult is just joining in on this occasion, happy to play by kids' rules. Kids know more about the world than we imagine or give them credit for.
Posted 07/18/2015 06:18 AM
rhonasheridan:
I think this is a lovely concept for children. I approve of Father Christmas too!
Posted 06/21/2015 03:07 AM
transitions:
Yes, of course, "let's die now and then go Home for tea"...I love that ~ Lovely poem.
Posted 06/20/2015 02:05 PM
njc:
Is there anything that makes you feel more alive than to imagine yourself outside your body?
Posted 06/20/2015 10:33 AM
Katrina:
I love the dynamic equilibrium, caught between gravity and elevation into fresh air; I can feel the pulls in the pulse of demand.
Posted 06/20/2015 08:57 AM
karenpaulholmes:
I love this poem, and I love the idea of playing this "game" with children -- for the quiet moments and all the many valuable lessons it teaches them.
Posted 06/20/2015 08:37 AM
paradea:
It IS attention-getting, but don't like the 'let's die' concept for children.
Posted 06/20/2015 08:09 AM
phebe.davidson@gmail.com:
This gorgeous writing---profound, a little clever in its way, and beautiful. Lyric at its best.
Posted 06/20/2015 07:37 AM
Supa:
It's a beautiful, thoughtful poem, but I'm trying to decide how i feel about the let's die concept.
Posted 06/20/2015 04:36 AM


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