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POOR DEVIL!

by Ric Masten

in my early twenties I went along with Dylan Thomas
boasting that I wanted to go out not gently
but raging shaking my fist  staring death down 
however this daring statement 
was somewhat revised when in my forties 
I realized that death does the staring I do the down
so I began hoping it would happen to me 
like it happened to the sentry  in all those 
John Wayne Fort Apache movies
found dead in the morning  face down 
an arrow in the back "Poor devil."  the Sergeant
always said "Never knew what hit him."
at the time I liked that... 
the end taking me completely by surprise
the bravado left in the hands
of a hard drinking Welshman
still wet behind the ears
older and wiser now  seventy eight 
and with a terminal disease
the only thing right about what the Sergeant said 
was the "Poor devil" part
"Poor devil" never used an opening 
to tell loved ones he loved them
never seized the opportunity to give praise
for the sun rise or drink in a sunset
moment after moment passing him by 
while he marched through his life
staring straight ahead believing in tomorrow
"Poor devil!"
how much fuller richer and pleasing life becomes
when you are lucky enough to see the arrow 
coming

Since February 14, 1999, poet/philosopher RIC MASTEN has been keeping an ongoing account of his battle with Incurable Advanced Metastatic Prostate Cancer from diagnosis to the "Latest Update." He keeps this unique digest in poetry, musings and medical tidbits. Updating as the war goes on. He welcomes calls and correspondence from fellow cancer fighters. Visit his website at: http://www.ric-masten.net/Prostate.Series.html