If I Die Before I Finish…

The novelist P. D. James, when asked,

on the occasion of her ninetieth birthday,

if she would write another murder mystery,

said that she might, but might not,

because she hated the idea of dying

in the middle of a book, because

“someone else would finish it,

and it’d be awful.”


A poet, particularly one much less skilled

than James, more inclined to brevity,

and well shy of ninety, has, perhaps,

less reason for worry, but still,

I know exactly what she means.

People are always trying to finish

my sentences for me when I speak,

and most of them can’t even

get that right.


I’ll probably write a few more poems,

but maybe it would be best not to attempt

an epic.


Note: James was quoted in The Guardian.


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper


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