There were so many things
that I was told about,
myths, fantasies of a life after life
that we would never reach.
I saw them as what they were:
stories to scare or appease
and together we mocked them.

I was told of the life in the clouds
picking on strings of harps
that would never untune
bathed in a light far greater
than the one from your earthly home.
But you used to say
that you couldn’t believe
that a man would die
on planks of wood, a sacrifice
for the likes of us.

I was told of the golden fields
where we would ride towards
an ever setting sun, shining heroes
of a now forgotten battle.
But you used to tell me
of the fields you traversed
they were mined, you survived
only to fight on another.
Your personal green of reds versus yellows
and five little soldiers as mutual targets.

I was told of a hall of warriors
from a world where every time
you cut your fingernails
the end of the world is kept at bay
at least for another while.
But you would grunt and scoff
as they drink only mead
not your favourite red wine
and the woman at your side
although without sword
has fought more battles than them.

I was told of the dark underworld
where ghosts and mist are one,
the rivers flow with memories and flames
and oblivion and pain, nothing like yours.
The river in which you would
swim as a lad, before when the water
was clear and school just a pastime.
But you would not know of it
you liked real histories
and memories which can be retold.

Then you told me things, a teacher at times:
You told me that tum-tum-pah is the backbone of music
and we knew it was the rhythm of your life.
You told me that I must consider every single move
of my opponent, before taking a step.
You told me that I stopped talking to you.
You told me that you would always be there
– down the stairs, turn left, through the door and knock
You told me that English was a bad choice
I wouldn’t need it. Engineering, now that’s a career!
I guess we were both right, in the end.

With my words, I tried to build a structure
to bridge the gap between us two
our languages, our generations, our worlds.

With your words, you told me your tale
the story you created to scare or appease
your one-man audience – me.

But the last thing you told me
left us suspended: I’ll see you in August.
August has passed now, September is ending.
And because those were stories, and tales
of a life after life, the stories
and tales of a life become mine,
all those many things
I wanted to tell you about
will have to remain unsaid.

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