Owen Dowling


Feeling funny

Having long ago lost social shyness,
and as an enjoyer of eye contact,
it is strange and ironic that now, when I see
faces in the exit crowd
I go to make start towards them
suddenly to remember I have no voice (*)
and the background hubbub
prevents its carrying.
This gives substance to encroaching impotence.
Retired bishops are amongst those
with whom some feel a certain diffidence
&mdashka fear of presumption and intrusion.
This feels funny too, though not laughingly ridiculous
when one is caught in a lonely spot.
An invitation, necessarily lighter than a summons
is required and I resort to this
in my thirst to re-establish past connections,
inveterate nostalgic that I am.
Looking at death’s final impotence,
impending and unavoidable,
I am pleased and comforted that I will find there
a companion of humble demeanour but vast importance
who couldn’t even move a hand to brush away a fly!
He’s there for all death strugglers, I believe.

— Owen Dowling
Good Friday 2008

(*) Owen was losing his strength of voice due to his illness