Life, a toast

Here’s to life
to homemade soup
to warm strings of bacon
in a hot winter mouthful
pea skins pressed
like helmets against your tongue
the taste of the earth.

Here’s to life
the lavish spread
a planet-load packed
with laughter, loss
the whole peculiar lot
this wild shebang of circumstance
spinning our bumbling jumble of questions
relentlessly around a cold hearted sun.

Here’s to love
to the end of the world
to youthful passion
the gallop, the turmoil
of too many words in an email
all of history’s heart beats
compressed into the zing
of that first light touch.

Here’s to friendship
to friends turned lovers
to lovers who stay friends
to the bite of grief
grinding teeth
white knuckles and fairy tales
wrestling with reality
over the weet-bix.

Here’s to hardship
to the crunchy stuff of life
to cuddling your kids
on a confounding night
here’s to sand-speckled bottoms
of toddlers on beaches
squeals of delight
playground fights
boys along bridges
their glistening backs and white teeth
bombing the raucous deep.

Here’s to our breath
our very last
released on a sharp clean bed
or sprung upon us
with violence
here’s to the final thought
the risk of it all
here’s to the risk of it all!

So raise your glass
old woman, old man
raise your cup, your mug
your warm can of beer
you on the bench with that matted grey beard
you in the church raise your greasy chalice
of Anglican port
your shallow shot of watery Baptist juice

you downtown raise your arty farty coffee
your plain cuppa tea
your ninety nine point nine percent fat free
sugar filled fruit drink
you in the dairy raise your supercharged fizz
your milo
your vodka and too much red bull
your milk, your wine
here’s to life, here’s to it all

the end and the beginning
the joy and the heartache
the hardship, the hugging
the lives that we’ve lived
and the lives that we’ve missed
here’s to squeezing the last drops of juice
from the core
of this rough ‘n’ tumble ball of existence.

Amen hallelujah breathe deep surf hard pour another
here’s to grasping
you can never quite grasp it
here’s to life, to being part of it.
To life!
I’ll drink to that.

 

First published in Byline 2016