Will it give me six months warning
Or come when least expected?
Will I trip over it one morning
And find myself disconnected?
Will it come on the way to Corstorphine
Or when sitting on the loo?
Will I need a lot of morphine
Will a bottle of brandy do?
Will it happen in broad daylight?
Or wait until it’s dark?
Will it come like a lover at midnight
On a necromancing lark?
Will I lose control of my bladder?
Will I lose control of myself?
Will the Lord send down a ladder
And shock the National Health?
Will it start as a minor chill,
Then turn to a nasty cough?
Will it spread everywhere until
Someone has to switch me off?
Is it already growing inside me?
Does it have a date and a time?
Will I know when at last it’s untied me?
O what’s the use of rhyme?
’The fear of death disturbs me’, a phrase from the Catholic Office
of the Dead, was used notably by William Dunbar, the medieval Scottish
poet, in his ‘Lament for the Makars’.