Natural Causes

"The female chimpanzee breeds until she dies, around her fortieth year, and nature surely intended the same for woman, before civilisation pointlessly protracted her lifespan."

The Observer, 21 March 1999

These are the pointless years.
Left, playing records of Sinatra behind
Brown stained curtains and grey
Dust covered stereo-covers.

Pointless memories of yesternight's party,
That I had to leave early.
Yet the fag-ash in beer-can smell remains
As a Sunday passes unnoticed, unshaven,
My eyes drop away from tomorrow's chip-paper,
And remind me why we hang on to lovers.

And I, whose fellow Woman will soon be spent,
Hanging on for no real purpose.
Forever the believer in natural order
Can only accept the verdict from the weekend press.

Who tell me Ernie Wise has died,
Monolithic mainstay of my evening Sunday
Fading fast away.

Watching with parents, Uncles and Matt Munro
On the distant wooden radio. All my elders and witnesses,
Appointed judges of my little successes.

Houses, pensions, holiday trips.
The frontier forever pushed by that lot ahead,
Now stopping.

Their journey, unobserved
Now has an end that I could never see,
Up 'til now no one died in sight of me.

Laurie Tallack