'The flickering light' by Ralph Jones

Ralph Jones
06/20/16 02:45:50AM
16 posts

lying here with nothing left but to reflect

on the things I have, and haven’t done yet

feel my body deteriorate, feel my illness advance

the things I’ve not done, now I won’t get a chance

different doctors I see, same questions they ask

I try to tell them through an oxygen mask

“how are you feeling, are you well

is the mask helping to breathe”. “It’s difficult to tell”

point to my chest as they ask, “is it your lungs”

but before I answer, the examination has begun

pyjamas top open, prodding with icy cold hands

talking in words I neither know, or understand

more x-rays, scans and blood tests

to see how my illness has progressed

then see the doctor, called in by a nurse

I can see by his face, my condition is worse

see his lips moving, don’t want to hear the words

can’t take it in, what I’ve just heard

as he looks at the x-ray, the shadows on the lungs

I knew then, that no more can be done

lying here, reminiscing about long lost better days

as the medication takes the pain away

hallucinating, dreaming, glassy eyed

thoughts turn back to my long departed bride

my childhood sweetheart, my guiding light

since she’s been gone, I’ve shed a tear each night

it’s many years, since up to Heaven she’s gone

lost without her, but for my family I stay strong

memories flood back, of my days in the mines

when my father took me, for my very first time

the first time in the bond, what a story to tell

told my grand-children “it was like dropping into hell”

at six o’clock in the morning, your day starts

as you walk to a place as black as the devils heart

the fireman tests, with a blue dim flame

for the presence of firedamp, or methane

into the coal face, a humid, damp, sweaty place

bent over, crawling, to a dark and cramped place

where your only friend, is the flickering light

of your cap lamp shining bright

the dust it engulfs you, like a black evil shroud

as you listen for sounds, for rumblings all around

while the perils of methane, is always there

invisible, tasteless, but deadly, so take care

my father said, “a days hard work never hurt me”

but there are men in the grave, who wouldn’t agree

good hard men, who worked their way into a tomb

mourning friends, thinking whose next to succumb

now laying on a bed, as the family gather crying

wheezing, gasping, tearfully watching me dying

a proud honest man, still full of fight

as the dust chokes out the last flickering light

final breath taken, no more suffering no more pain

then friends gather and wait in the howling rain

to say their final farewell

to a man who had so many stories to tell

see familiar faces, only seen on these sad days

getting fewer each time, as they slowly pass away

good colliers, who were also lifelong mates

together for the last time, at the graveyard gates

he’s back now with the woman he loved so much

the wife he missed, her kisses, her touch

up in heaven again they will meet

as at the pearly gates, she waits for him to greet

but not being a man to go quietly to his grave

a few words were written, by this man so brave

don’t mourn for me, as I’m not alone

and please put these words on my headstone

“when I die, don’t let the word spread

I’ll be in heaven, before the devil knows I’m dead

let him find out, as he reads my obituary

so he’ll tell his friends, “that soul should be for me.”

updated by @ralph-jones: 11/24/19 06:16:51PM