⋅ 12 September 2011

The fast lane

I read his epitaph today
and I shook my head,
A picture of a motorbike
etched into the marble
with a portrait of a young man…
far too young to be dead.
I shook my head.

The watery winter sun
ineffectual against the chill wind
blowing down the back of my neck
and throwing the last of the winter leaves
into the flowerbed,
accentuating the desolation to be found
amid so many headstones and crosses
in this hallowed ground.

I thought ‘what a waste’.
Aloud, I asked “why”?
The wind snatched my question away -
and no one there to answer it, anyway.

He was a young man,
hardly out of his teens,
no road sense –
all leather jacket and jeans
who had been nowhere and,
surely in his short life,
had achieved little of consequence
and had sped to his death
in such guileless haste
and, monotonous as the train of thought was,
I kept returning to the subject of waste…

He could not bear to wait…
He would sooner be early than late…
why wait ten minutes
when he could be there in five?
because if he had taken the ten minutes,
he may still have been alive..
it really is that simple!

Impatience…
is the reason for
‘In-patients’.

Most of us share that failure with him
but at least find ourselves
with more time in which to fail.
The young think
that they are indestructible
and they believe they need no warning,
they care nothing for rising sea levels
and global warming,
it’s live now, pay later
although ‘later’
is sometimes sooner
than they think,
when they insist on
dying in the fast lane
and living on the brink

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  • A thoughtfully penned and well-expressed verse that makes the reader think. Great work! This is also an eye-opener for all those youngsters in their teens who seem to be obsessed with speed also the need to impress their peers. Just yesterday I was watching on a tv channel the dangers of drag racing , doing wheelies and all sorts of motorbike stunts. And I kept thinking - is all the adrenaline rush worth when life itself is at stake? When a young precious life is lost, who is to blame? The teenager himself, his parents, his friends? The most powerful lines: "The young think that they are indestructible and they believe they need no warning, they care nothing for rising sea levels and global warming, it’s live now, pay later although ‘later’ is sometimes sooner than they think, when they insist on dying in the fast lane and living on the brink."13 Sep 2011 by

  • Wow! A riveting poem indeed all from reading an epitaph. What stood out for me was Impatience...is the reason for 'In-patients'. These words could be used by Police in the media to try and prevent speeding and accidents. Great narration Kevin.13 Sep 2011 by

  • 'later is sometimes sooner'...great work..an eye-opening poem 1 Jan 2011 by

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