An Apology for Dumb Advice (Poem to E.B.)

To E. B.

“Where wasteful Time debateth with Decay”
(Shakespeare Sonnet XV)

I was wrong to say you’ve lots of time.
And then to make things worse
Suggest your energy was all that mattered.
I didn’t need to see you shrug it off
With that gracious thank you note
To know, like you,
How dumb advice sucks.

I especially know the desperate
Needs of now, of how fearful
Delay can seem.
The young Antigone in all of us
Who wants to bury her dead brother
Now, because to wait will mean
His skull will be picked clean.

A schoolboy I taught once
Had drawn on his copy book:
A coffin with a cross!
The graffiti with a biro read:
Died waiting for the bus!
The waiting made him stuck,
Stuck at a dumb bus stop sucks.

Because I wonder about next year,
I make you rich in what I lack,
That’s not the point:
We’re both concerned with wasting time!
We need to grow
Stronger in self belief.
Time can’t stop that.

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