How Long Does a Man Live?

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So, how long does a man live, finally?
And how much does he live while he lives?
We fret, and ask so many questions –
Then when it comes to us
The answer is so simple.

A man lives for as long as we carry him inside us,
For as long as we carry the harvest of his dreams,
For as long as we can ourselves live,
Holding memories in common, a man lives.

His lover will carry his man’s scent, his touch,
His children will carry the weight of his love,
One friend will carry his arguments,
Another will hum his favourite tunes,
Another will still share his terrors.

And the days will pass with baffled faces,
Then the weeks, then the months,
Then there will be a day when no question is asked,
And the knots of grief will loosen in the stomach,
And the puffed faces will calm.
And on that day he will not have ceased,
But will have ceased to be separated by death,
How long does a man live, finally?

So Many Different Lengths of Time.

By Brian Patten

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