What If?

What If?What if I only had a year to live?
I’d quit my day job,
throw myself into a poetic frenzy,
leave a literary mess
of wine stained pages
for someone else to clean up.

What if I had five years to live?
It’d be too soon to quit the day job,
not having sufficient savings,
and too far from the end
to even bother counting the sips
left ’til the bottom of the glass.

What if I had ten years left?
Being a man of a certain age
that’s not unreasonable
yet I still treat days
as though they grew on vines,
plucking sweet and juicy hours
ignoring the end of the row.

With no heaven in which to rest
and no hell to fear
I shall treat these remaining years
like the final case
from a dead vineyard,
with only so many bottles
left to savor and share.


About Bartholomew Barker

Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.
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4 Responses to What If?

  1. stoleru says:

    Nice poem, I empathize with the metaphors: days – grapes, year – bottle of wine :)


    • Thanks, Eduard! I’m glad it resonated with you. It’s funny how this poem has changed over the revisions. The wine metaphor was something I added almost as an afterthought.


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