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Poet’s Corner: only one life

By David Seddon

David is a retired English teacher and an active member of Stockport Humanists


George had been great at hunter-gathering:

Strong, thoughtful, hard-working,

Good for a laugh.


He lay on the ground in front of them.

He was there, but wasn’t.

He didn’t move, speak, open his eyes.

They called him dead.


So where was George?

This was only a body.




Over time human progress conceived

A place for dead people to have gone to,

Otherwise the difference was incomprehensible

Between being alive and being dead.


People called it

Heaven, Elysium, Paradise, Nirvana, Valhalla….


The idea served them well –

Brought understanding to incomprehensible things,

Comfort to sadness, purpose to mourning.


Nobody asked whether it was true.

Until some humans dared to say:

You’ve only one life – then you’re dead – you’ve stopped.


That’s humans for you – always making progress!



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