This is a poem suggested by another poem by W H Auden.
‘O Tell Me the Truth’
Will it start with a vague apprehension?
Will it come as a pain in the chest –
or a place which we don’t like to mention?
Will it be introduced by a test?
Will you wake up together one morning
because it’s crept into the house?
Will it strike like a snake without warning?
Or play like a cat with a mouse?
Will it come with a wave in the ocean
or a leap, or a handful of pills?
Will it cause a tremendous commotion
or end with that soft air that kills?
Can you fool it by blaming your mother
or offering payment in lieu?
Please find out one way or another
and tell me the truth when you do.
from Finding a Leg to Stand On (Bloodaxe, 2012), © Connie Bensley 2012, used by permission of the author and the publisher.