Fifteen years ago, when I was an old man and concerned about how many years might remain, I wrote a poem about the last days of King David.
When David the King was old and empty of desire,
when he counted the years of his life
and divined the unused number of his days,
when he shivered in the cold of a lonely bed,
his armour- bearer brought
the little Shunamite.
She was small and flawless,
gentle as a doe, graceful as a swan,
and the sweet perfume of Shunam’s flowers
swirled like mist around her.
She entered the old king’s bed;
Cheered him with her guileless kisses
warmed him with her tender body,
took away his loneliness..
She stayed wil him, night and day,
until his last hour came.
Busy servants of Hippocrates
will bring me potent potions
to dull the pain and fearsome workings of the mind.
I would rather smell the myriad flowers of Shunam.
When darkness finds my room,
J shall imagine a little Shunamite coming shyly to my bed
and her young body, white and pure, warming mine
as her honeyed kisses warm my wither lip.
I shall imagine a phantom love repelling
this last assault of loneliness.
For a little while.
© William Wardill, 2003
ATTENTION AUDIOPHILES: I have 9 copies of Sterio Review dating from 1987 to 1988. Is there somebody out there who would like to have them?