Monday, 2 April 2018


I have just written to a friend. The note contains arguments she made to me regarding a continuation of a chorus I had been directing and was still working for and with 12 years after officially retiring from work. I was getting more and more upset by poor attendance and the apparent inability of members to prepare themselves for rehearsals in any way, even by reading through the lyrics a couple of times, let alone being abole to do anything musical on their own. There was bad blood among the members, some of whom had pushed others out so that the chorus was getting smaller,

Quite a lot of those left made me feel superfluous, so that's what I made myself  in December 2016, and I did not shed a tear becuase leaving relieved me of all the music arranging, all the administration and all the artistic work involved in performing. Some of them did not even want to do that, but just sing along a bit - and badly - without design or purpose. That was not my style. I decided to get out and did. I counted it as part of my retirement plan and though means a reduction in financial income, it also gave me indescribable mental freedom and took away that anguished feeling of simply not wanting to carry more cans. I still love the music-making and miss it, but there is a limit to how much one can tolerate from others!

The poem? This time it's free verse. Entry onto the poetry site entails giving a poem a title.

A time to stay and a time to go or how to be superfluous

Musing on and celebrating the joys of idleness.
(This is not about the caring of loved ones.
It is about getting rid of filling one's life with 'something to do',
to avoid the idleness that is not a sin, after all!)

Have you ever thought how short a day can be?

Have you ever thought how long a day can be
If you fill it with service and favours to those
Who would not want to serve and favour you?

Have you ever listened to the voice within
And heard the truth: That most are deaf
To one's own voice, however loud it shouts?

Have you ever known how precious you are
In your time and to yourself?

Those hours and days that you have left
Do not belong to others,

Just witness how they bow and scrape to keep your hours
In service to themselves.
Their selfishness abounds.

No, this is not about the fourty years or so
Of work in which you were in duty bound
To make a living for yourself.

This is about the hours of self you earned yourself.

They are not to give away.
We should not give our hours away
To people taking them for free.

There is no sensible reward for you
If others simply steal your hours
Since in itself it makes no sense.

What can I do to fill the gap
My service to the selfish leaves?

The time until I see and hear no more is short
And worthless are the words of gratitute
From people - meaning those whose lives
I felt oblige to enhance.
As if they had entitlement.

The birds will sing and flowers will bloom,
The music will play on when we are gone.
The people  - meaning those who stole our time -
Will carry on regardless.

Dismissing all that servitude
Is what you need to set you free
For the few short years of indolence
To which life has entitled you.