English poetry

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Dead man’s clothes

Dead man’s clothes

Growing up, I propose,
Is like wearing a dead man’s clothes.
Death has a way of levelling the ground.
I have found the closer your relationship
The closer the fit;
The unsettling bit is the fear
Of not fitting the role, or where
Your forbear made a name or leashed
A reputation, which by imputation
Of the clothes is yours as a crown, to wear
Or not to wear, to possess or disown; whereas
I was first bequeathed a pair of shorts, a T shirt
And some thongs, items which rightly belonged
Both to the man who was and the man to be,
Though I had worn his suit before I reached
His height, and though I might pretend I was,
I never was that man despite the formal suit.
Today I use a woollen fishing jersey from
A man I hold in huge regard but sadly
Now departed, a man whose friendship
Touched my heart and with the most humble
Respect I know
I gladly wear his clothes.



Poem Dead man’s clothes - Ivan Donn Carswell