Diary of the Plague Year: Day 58 12 May 2020: A Walk to the Post Office

I had a letter to post so decided to walk to Rosscarbery and back as it was such a stunning day.

One of the things I do miss about my life in London is the walks with friends. Usually organised by M we have had walks on the Pilgrim’s Way to Canterbury, walks in Hampshire, around Chichester Harbour, from Hastings to Winchelsea, all around Shoreham in Kent, around Canvey Island and many others. Usually we would stop for a really good pub lunch.

Any kind of social occasion is beginning to feel so remote, like something from a past life.

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 58 12 May 2020: Quotidian Poetry: Keith Douglas (1920-1944)

SIMPLIFY ME WHEN I AM DEAD

Remember me when I am dead
and simplify me when I'm dead.

As the processes of earth
strip off the colour of the skin:
take the brown hair and blue eye

and leave me simpler than at birth,
when hairless I came howling in
as the moon entered the cold sky.

Of my skeleton perhaps,
so stripped, a learned man will say
"He was of such a type and intelligence," no more.

Thus when in a year collapse
particular memories, you may
deduce, from the long pain I bore

the opinions I held, who was my foe
and what I left, even my appearance
but incidents will be no guide.

Time's wrong-way telescope will show
a minute man ten years hence
and by distance simplified.

Through that lens see if I seem
substance or nothing: of the world
deserving mention or charitable oblivion,

not by momentary spleen
or love into decision hurled,
leisurely arrive at an opinion.

Remember me when I am dead
and simplify me when I'm dead.