Lease of Life


The flat next to mine, emptying again.
It is just the way of things around here;
average length of stay, about a year.

Moving on, moving up, the quest for “lebensraum”;
the whining of Hoovers, the swish of new brooms.
Rotating movements up and down the stair;
impermanence instilled into the very air.

I am the sole exception, only I remain;
but why this should be is difficult to explain.
I cannot unravel the how, or the why,
but a quarter of a century has now gone by.
When did ambition, bright aspirations,
mutate into bleakness, quiet desperation?

Now an ageing, timid mouse, in my hole,
peering out at dusky Asians,
burly Poles and Lithuanians;
ever-shifting cavalcade; transmigrating souls.

The flats are “leasehold”, and leases expire.
Departures, arrivals, “New Flat to Let”;
a reminder, in case I’m tempted to forget,
that we inhabit our bodies on long-term hire;
that the time approaches when that lease will expire.

My poetic muse has been woefully inactive of late.  I was beginning to wonder whether the continuing lack of inspiration was going to be terminal; then I heard familiar sounds from the flat next door, and the creative juices began to flow again.  What started out as a fairly straightforward description of my reactions to the events turned into a rather sombre meditation upon mortality.  That reminds me; I really must check on the length of my current lease!


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