I am reading Clive James last book. On poems he could recite half blinded by the cancer that eventually took him off. It is humble: I strongly recommend you read the epilogue early so you understand the fiction. James could not remember all of the poems. But his wife, often betrayed, no famous, a better scholar, could. His friends could. His daughter edited the book. It is better than the work of one man.
But this is from one man, told he is dying, to his daughter. It got out into the web, so James linked to it.
Your death, near now, is of an easy sort.
So slow a fading out brings no real pain.
Breath growing short
Is just uncomfortable. You feel the drain
Of energy, but thought and sight remain:
Enhanced, in fact. When did you ever see
So much sweet beauty as when fine rain falls
On that small tree
And saturates your brick back garden walls,
So many Amber Rooms and mirror halls?
Ever more lavish as the dusk descends
This glistening illuminates the air.
It never ends.
Whenever the rain comes it will be there,
Beyond my time, but now I take my share.
My daughter’s choice, the maple tree is new.
Come autumn and its leaves will turn to flame.
What I must do
Is live to see that. That will end the game
For me, though life continues all the same:
Filling the double doors to bathe my eyes,
A final flood of colors will live on
As my mind dies,
Burned by my vision of a world that shone
So brightly at the last, and then was gone.