Grandpa’s Gift

He chooses his dying words with great care
Each syllable selected to inform
Breathing deeply he gasps the precious air
That ventilates his slowly dying form
To keep his decaying body still warm

Those final parting words are all he has
Left to show he is still conscious, alive,
Lying there on the hospital death bed
Knowing that he will surely not survive
Until when the evening’s dusk arrives

Silent, they strain to catch his vital words
Each daughter tightly grips a fading hand;
He, confusing consonants and verbs,
They worried, struggling still to understand
The lexicon of death-bed thought unplanned

The grips tighten as he strains to whisper
His final mortal communication;
Precious to him, these, his last words ever,
Are not wasted on pleas of salvation
Or on pointless pious incantation

Slowly, the words form in his dying frame:
‘It’s in the box…’ is the whispered sound…
They ask him to repeat, to say again,
What is ‘it’ – and, please, where will ‘it’ be found –
The dosh, the cash, title deeds, wealth unfound?

What box and where is it carefully hid?
Where does their waiting wealth, their booty, lie?
What accursed box, with it’s unknown lid
Holds the unearned wealth of the family
Of the old man now about to die?

He smiles his last and then he dies in peace
He has led them a merry-go-round
Death for him now is a joyful release
Grandpa’s fortune will be a battleground
The family will fight, squabble, hunt around,
Whilst he’ll sleep peacefully, 6 ft underground