The Visigoths, those fourth-century Huns,
Met the ills longevity inflicts
Head-on, clear-eyed,
Unsuborned by Death’s approach.
If the stories told be true.

At the signs of old age multiplying,
Mind faltering, body stiffening,
Custom decreed a rock be climbed,
A vertiginous eminence, shadowing the land,
A blessed rock – ‘The Rock of the Ancestors.’

Once surmounted, the invitation unspoken,
Received in silence, without complaint, accepted.
Each ageing Visigoth stepped quietly into the abyss,
Believing their death, their last, best gift.

No rocky eminence invites us.

At the signs of old age multiplying,
Body stiffening, muscles aching,
Dementia, thief-like, creeping quietly
Into the cracks and crevices of the mind,
Steals levels of our selves
Till our very self is gone.

Suborned by Death,
We strive to keep alive
The body encasing
The loved one lost.