Herbert Nehrlich

Rookie (04 October 1943 / Germany)

Pallbearers - Poem by Herbert Nehrlich

Inside the box of cypress pine
(they say that worms won't touch the stuff) ,
exactly at the dot of nine
six friends from school, who huff and puff
and whom no force would pull asunder,
companions on this final trip,
they say good-bye and put me under,
the box sinks slowly, like a ship.

Each of the bearers surely ponders
about the time and how it flew,
and with a fleeting shiver wonders
if God might give the faintest clue
on who'd be next to take the dive.

Will it be Fred who smokes cigars,
or Albert, who is kept alive
by daily visits to the bars?
In any case, this honour service
that men are called upon to give
makes many people very nervous,
as everybody wants to live.

To solve the riddle for us all
I tool the liberty to buy
down in the city, at the Mall
six hourglasses, it's no lie.
I wrote the names upon them clearly
of those six friends in glowing ink,
the purpose being, I would dearly
be in the know. I further think
that I can get prepared that way
to welcome each by his own name.
They come for an extended stay
which, in the end, is all the same
as something called eternity.

Though no one grasps it all at first,
that we are gone, done in, yet free,
so, as the mental bubbles burst
they settle in, accept their fate.
It helps alot when they are greeted
not as a devil but a mate,
it makes you calmer, less defeated,
so, when my box then runs aground,
I set the gadgets in position,
the sand will trickle without sound
into the bottom glass partition.

So, now you know if you are asked
to do last honours for a man,
your fate will soon become unmasked
by the deceased because he can
predict, as I have clearly shown
the death of you and your five mates,
it's something heretofore unknown
and, thus, potentially creates
a shortage of those volunteers.
So, may I ask you for your pledge
to keep yours shut when someone nears
his hours hov'ring near the edge.

But, if you don't obey appeals
like this one, you will be the chappie
to see a need for coffin wheels,
though it won't make me very happy.
For centuries pallbearers did
their duties as it was expected,
and when the call came no one hid
so, if at last you are elected
forget about my hourglasses.
Down here, it's something I can do,
and as they rest their sorry asses
I'll be the first to have a clue.


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Read poems about / on: fate, sorry, school, city, happy, people, death, running, friend



Poem Submitted: Friday, May 27, 2005



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