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  • Writer's pictureJim Brown

Abyssinia





This poem was written shortly after the death of a good friend who succumbed to alcohol addiction.


Our interests in life come in many different forms and what can be a pleasant entertainment for most of us can become a deadly enemy to those with an addictive vulnerability. We are all familiar with the main culprits - drugs, gambling and alcohol, but there are plenty of other areas where the complex workings of the human condition can run us into difficulties.


My friend was not known as a heavy drinker and for many years I had no inkling that there was an issue.  In his later life rumours began to circulate that secret drinking was causing him problems but my life had moved in a different direction and our paths didn’t cross that often so I didn’t give it much thought.


I was very shocked when I learnt that he had passed away and also by the bizarre nature of his lonely death. I felt that I should have done something and felt a bit guilty as well for not being aware of what was happening.


So I wrote the poem as a shout-out against alcohol addiction but also as a memorial to a friend who left his mark on many of us with his unique personality.  I hope I have captured some of his essence in these few short verses.


In the poem the term Munro is mentioned. A Munro is a mountain over 3000ft in height and there are 272 of them in Scotland. My friend had climbed them all over the span of his life.


This will be the last poem I will use to support the great work of Marie Curie end of life care. Next month a different charity will be supported but it would be nice to hit or exceed the £1000.00 target for Marie Curie so if you feel inclined a donation would be very much appreciated.


Abyssinia.

 

He drowned in an empty bath, his liver limp and dead.

Drowned by years of alcohol, way up above his head.

He was in his everyday clothes, when they kicked in the door,

Just sitting there totally dry, master of his final encore.

 

He showed me the climbing ropes, on rounded Mourne granite.

Taught me how to keep safe, before addiction consumed his habit.

A lover of climbing hard, but age and injury dulled his mood.

Joking in his wordsmith way, "All ends in decrapitude".

 

I didn't see his struggles; He just sank slowly from view,

Any help message in a bottle just floated right on through,

Years of secret drinking, till cirrhosis got his measure.

Sunk in a sea of addiction, with the bottle labelled pleasure.

 

I remember when I last saw him, heading for a final Munro,

I said "I'll be seeing you", "Abyssinia he grinned....you know"?

And we laughed and shook hands, unaware that this was the end

Of our journey.........................Abyssinia no more old friend.

 

Jim Brown    Feb 2021



 


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