My thanks to Sue Vincent for her kindness in publishing my guest post.
It is frequently remarked that “the only things certain in life are death and taxes”. While this old adage contains much truth, one may, perhaps rephrase it to read thus, “the only thing certain in life is that poets will write about death”.
One of the finest poems concerning mortality is, in my opinion Ernest Dowson’s “Vitae Summa Brevis Spem Nos Vetat Incohare Longam”:
“They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.
They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream”.
Life’s pleasures are brief (as is Dowson’s poem). Wine and roses (the pleasures of food and love) pass and our existence ends “as in a dream”. (https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/vitae-summa-brevis-spem-nos-vetat-incohare-longam).
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