How I much prefer the slow, rumbling thunder,
of a storm that is in no hurry to arrive,

that wants to give us fair warning to brace ourselves
for the wind and rain that will come our way,

much prefer the slow rumble in the distance,
angels let loose in the ten-pin bowling alley,

we give him a year to live, the doctors say
we’ll cut out that tumour,
we’ll mop up with chemo,

a series of body blows,
where the bloodied boxer
gets up time and time again
for more punishment,

and the onlookers
look on
but the odds are against him,

rolling thunder,

(like preferring to be mauled by a vicious dog rather than a lion),

prefer it to the ear-splitting


of thunder,
straight after
a slither
of a moment
between them,

our house is hit
out of the black,
when we thought
we were safe
in bed,

when we thought life
was going pretty well,


the news from the blue,
the knock on the door,
the police officers
with shifting feet,


the news which
like a steel rod
breaks our legs,
and we slump
to the ground,
in shock,


the news which
readjusts the earth
beneath our feet,
the landscape changed


the lightning
hits the house

the clock flies
across the room

the clock


Note: North American poet and blogger Bryan Borland lost his father to a car accident over a year ago, and he said to me that he wasn’t sure which was worse – a sudden death or the slow death of someone with a terminal illness (such as my mother suffered) – I suppose it depends on the circumstances but I prefer a bit ofย notice – they’re both tragic (and I have experienced both). This one is for you Bryan.