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How Much Does a Man?

How much does a man live after all?
Does he live 1000 years or only one?
For a week or several centuries

How long is death supposed to be?
What does it mean to say it’s done?

I went to town for answers
To questions that were lost
I waited for the pastor
Underneath his wooden cross
I watched him as he made his way
From the devil to his god
He had no time for questions
He was busy with his job

The doctor then received me
In between his rounds

His hands were dripping blood
He was the busiest in town
He said the problem wasn’t death
Life died by the ton

But the few of us surviving
Showing signs of infection

Well I was so startled
I ran to where they burned
Beaches full of bodies
To fit them into urns
And when I got the chance I asked them
Everything they knew

They offered up to burn me
It was all that they could do

My dead neighbors then shouted
In between their drinks

“Get yourself a good woman
and just try not to think”
I never saw such happy people
Calling out a toast

Just the same to health and death
Then tearing off their clothes

I returned to my house
Older than when I left
Traveling around my town
Has left me short of breath
My feet are tired of walking
And my hair’s a shade of grey
I ask nobody questions
But I know less everyday