Three Poems by Peter J. King

Grow Old Along with Me

If I were kind then I should say
That you’re as youthful as the day
I met you, and I’d claim to find
From brow to chin your face unlined,
               If I were kind.

I’d salve the worry you display
About the worsening decay
Of your once sharp incisive mind,
               If I were kind.

And when you showed me your dismay
At what the scales insist you weigh,
At liver spots, at undefined
Complaints of an obstetric kind,
I’d tush and pish your fears away —
               If I were kind.


What am I doing here, bewildered at the bottom of the stairs?
Was there some task I should perform, some object lost?
Time’s friction-flow my mind impairs.
What am I doing here?

              My intellect was clear, and yet the years I’ve crossed
                            Are being taken from me slowly, almost unawares,
              And like a standing stone I am becoming mossed.

Now on this chilly step I sit and try to gather my affairs;
I’ve outlived all my peers, but at too great a cost,
For there is no-one left who cares.
What am I doing here?

A Good Death

I wanted you to struggle,
dig your heels into existence
as the edge came into sight;
I wanted you to fasten
your frail hands on life,
and not give in without a fight.

But what I wanted
was beside the point that night,
for at the end it was your age
that helped to gently dim the light.

Peter J. King was born and brought up in Boston, Lincolnshire.  He was active on the London poetry scene in the 1970s, returning to poetry in 2013.  His work (including translations from modern Greek and German poetry) has since been widely published in magazines and anthologies.  His currently available collections are Adding Colours to the Chameleon (Wisdom’s Bottom Press) and All What Larkin (Albion Beatnik Press).