The Birds – Philip Hodgins – Comments

The Birds
The time is nearly five a.m.
and all the birds are on the go.
They sound just like the frequencies
of many twiddled radios.

It's really bad the way it's gone ―
I always used to sleep okay
and dream and miss the rural life
and never see the break of day.

But since I got the only part
in cancer's scripted dialogue
I've heard those birds a million times
and seen the sun come up a lot.

I've been rehearsing death each night,
and still I haven't got it right.

Philip Hodgins (1959 – 1995)

Philip Hodgins died at such an early age after having a blood cancer. Much of his later poetry was associated with living with such a debilitating and terminal condition. And the closing couplet of this sonnet defines his despair at still being alive – ‘I’ve been rehearsing death each night’.

Clearly the bird chorus of early dawn irritates him. And who hasn’t been irritated by fiddling with the frequencies on a radio in trying to find a station? And in the second stanza it looks as though he used to sleep-in in the morning, indicating a fully engaged vibrant social nightlife.

He considers life to be a play where he has been given a nasty script. And he alone has that once only part indicating that all his contemporaries will live on as he waits for the final act.

Philip Hodgins on Wikipedia – Philip Hodgins – Wikipedia

Of interest, the legislative authority of the Australian Capital Territory is about to consider how to deal with the legality of euthanasia.

euthanasia = the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma