A Poem: How Would we Live

How would you live if you believed
you were dying?
How would you die if you learned to live?

Is surrendering the gift
that gives us an increase of days?
Days we number
and then choose to inhabit.

I know that when the thought arrives,
accelerated by illness or grief,
the resistance is a stone,
an ache in the chest –

whereas to give in
to our common fate and
its great yawning
leap of trust,

is perhaps instead
just a trapdoor
this side of heaven,
opening to a sum of possibilities.

Yes, how would we live
if we grasped our demise?
How would we learn to make everything from here-on-in
begin to count?

How might we prepare,
and perceive the future still
with its film of tears
suffusing our dreams?

How might we step,
a day in its own time,
into its own opening mercy?
Step gracefully

into the beginning of the end,
the end of our denial,
the beginning of the certainty
of all our unfolding tomorrows.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
March 2021


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