Five of Diamonds: Countdown

5lavieI’m ninety eight years old, and I am dying.
I’ll do the things I still have time to do.
I’ll grab life and I’ll dance,
for I will not have the chance
to do the rest
before I rest
I knew that in advance.

I’m eighty eight years old, and I am dying.
I’ll do the things I never dared to do.
There’s still some room to grow,
so I won’t lie down below
scared to use,
afraid to lose
the things that soon will go.

I’m seventy eight years old, and I am dying.
I’ll be the me my elders never knew.
I’ll shatter expectations
of already dead relations
and they would die
to see that I
enjoy such deviations.

I’m sixty eight years old, and I am dying.
I’ll do the things I’ve learnt so well do to.
I’ll satisfy my hunger
to be a wisdom-monger;
refine the gold
of getting old
and glitter for the younger.

I’m fifty eight years old, and I am dying.
I’ll do the things I always wanted to.
Put the uniform away
and go outside and play
I’ve saved it up
Now giddy-up
It’s not a rainy day!

I’m forty eight years old, and I am dying.
I’ll do the things I came alive to do.
I won’t live in haste,
’cause there’s no time to waste
getting stressed
to be the best
to someone else’s taste.

I’m thirty eight years old, and I am dying.
I’ll do the things I really want to do.
My time will not be spent
to only pay the rent.
Find my groove
and make the move.
It’s time to reinvent.

I’m twenty eight years old, and I am dying.
I’ll do the things I don’t have time to do,
If I want to be a writer,
I’ll pull a near all-nighter
writing rot
of life’s garrotte,
the dead line pulling tighter.

I’m now eighteen years old, and I am dying.
I’ll do the things it interests me to do.
I’ve got some things to learn
and I will not miss a turn
bored to tears
by sev’ral years
of what they think will earn.

I’m only eight years old, and I am living.
I’ll do the things you show me how to do.
Show me what to do
so I can be like you,
so I’ll be free
to be like me.
Live long, live short, live true.


Hey guess what, everybody! We’re all going to die!

This is the poem that I started writing two weeks ago. Incidentally, I’ve edited that post to add the lyrics of the song which inspired the poem, after getting permission from the songwriter.

In case you hadn’t guessed, I’m twenty eight years old, and that stanza is autobiographical, although I didn’t pull an all-nighter for this particular Thing. Perhaps I’ll write an alternative version of that stanza at some point, which would be more serious and less specific. I guess the stanzas after it are autobiographical too; I studied mathematics at university. I have seen exactly one job listing requiring a mathematics degree. But people who have never studied maths at that level just don’t understand the incredible wealth of puns they’re missing out on.

Thirty eight and forty eight (which was originally written for thirty eight) were partly inspired by Jonathan Coulton, who is currently 38, and quit his job to become an internet superstar at 34. The other stanzas are far outside my experience, so I had an interesting conversation with a few Geneva Writers’ Group writers closer to the more difficult-to-write ages. It turned out that one of them also made a huge career change at around 35.

V is the Roman numeral for five, and sounds like the French word for life. I intended to end this blurb after the second sentence, so I should stop now.

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  1. #1 by Grace Bridges on February 9, 2009 - 10:15 pm

    This is pretty cool. I like it!


  2. #2 by Angela Brett on February 11, 2009 - 12:45 am

    Glad you like it. 🙂 I really need to catch up on your blog, I keep seeing the emails when I’m at work and forgetting to have a look when I’m home.


  3. #3 by mtgordon on February 27, 2009 - 9:16 pm

    I’m thirty-eight years old and out of work, and you’ve done a great deal to lift my spirits. Thanks again.


  4. #4 by Angela Brett on February 28, 2009 - 2:28 am

    I’m glad to hear I lifted your spirits. 🙂 I don’t know if this is my favourite Thing, but in subject matter it’s the closest to A Talk With George I’m likely to get.

    I showed this one to the people who inspired some of the ‘older’ stanzas and they made some suggestions (which I’m not sure I’ll follow) for tightening it up, and one of them found 58 and 18 difficult to understand. Is it clear to you what they’re about?


  1. Two poems shot off to Offshoots « Writing Cards and Letters

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