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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Many More Miles To Memphis

In the year Nineteen Nineteen
When the leaves were young
Just out of budding
With all shades of green

I received a letter from my Aunt Maureen
Telling of a spot reserved for me
In the family cemetery in Memphis
Prettiest grassy spot you'd ever seen

I took her at her word
As I swore I'd never go back
Though they say things have changed
Or at least that's what I'd heard

That was thirty years past now
Back when I lived in Cairo
Cleaning tomb relics at a dig
Just after arriving fresh from Maccau

Upon hearing this news
It gave me pause to think how civilized it was
That my bones would have a final resting place
Though as a destination it failed to enthuse

And true to my thoughts and intents
I've avoided the city ever since
Having it accompany my thoughts of death is bad enough
Inspiring whatever nightmares my guilty conscience invents

What did I do that causes me to keep Memphis at arm's length?
Just asking that question is what keeps me moving
Avoiding the answer that is on the tip of my tongue
Keeping it in check with all of my strength

On to New Zealand to wrestle some sheep
I've heard they are soft round and smelly
Requiring a dull sense of smell and a vigilant eye
As they love to escape and need little sleep

Then to Japan trying to be a swordsmith
Though after making my first simple hook I gave up
Nobody had told me how long the process took
The thought that such a thing is easy but a sour myth

Now in Nineteen-Fifty I've slowed down more than a scosche
Seen two world wars come and go
And between the arthritis and tinnitus
My mannerisms only grow all the more gauche

But I have many more miles to Memphis left in me yet
Many more places to visit 
Many more professions to try
Before I'll ever see Death and declare, "Well met!"