A Poem: One Chance

If we were given just one day,
if everything were new
but we still understood
that this were it,
this once chance at living –

what would we do?

And what if it stretched,
this 24 hour block,
what if it slowed
and appeared to extend
a life-time’s length.

What would we do?

And what if we came into it
without foreknowledge,
waking to the day
not knowing what it was,
this time, like sand through fingers.

What would we do?

And what if it sped.
Too quick, for time to reflect
on the evidence,
that this was the best of life,
running out.

What would we do?

If we were given just one day,
a 24 hour gift.
What would we do
and how would we live?
How would we decide in such short a time,

the things worth our attentions?

How would we live?
Who would we give our life too?
Just questions, yet,
if time is the span of a breath,
as we are told –

what should we do?

If life is to be weighed
as something more precious
and fleeting than first thought,
if we are told to measure our days,
then how?

How should we live?

I think of how the sun rises,
and sets,
how we are anesthetised
by the day’s constant return,
as programmes set on repeat.

And how instead might we live,

if we were given just one day,
if everything were new
but we still understood
that this were it –
this once chance at breath.

Yes, what would we do?

How would we live?
Who would we give our life too?
Just questions, yet,
but this is what it is,
when all is boiled down.

One life, one chance, one breath.
This gift.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
June 2019


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