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I doubt my final credits
are quite ready to roll  
though   so far  

I’ve outlived John Donne’s span  
& that of so many of the poets
I admire   I can’t refute

that   far too soon   mid-
sentence   I will expire
Gluttonous death  

will make a meal of me  
& divide body   from soul  
make perhaps this very one  

my last breath   last scene  
last poem   which I hope
will be constructed well  

Far more of my life’s
in the take-up reel  
than in what’s to come  

which is no cause for despair  
as in anticipation   I prepare  
for the sequel

Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash

D.S. Martin

D.S. Martin is the author of five poetry collections, including Angelicus (2021), Ampersand (2018), and Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis (2013) — all from Cascade Books. He is Poet-in-Residence at McMaster Divinity College, the Series Editor for the Poiema Poetry Series. He and his wife live in Brampton, Ontario; they have two adult sons.


  • rena says:

    thank you for this,’ I prepare for the sequel is so joyous’.
    It is indeed ‘constructed well’ but please its not the last scene or poem for a long while…

  • Desmond Kon says:

    Love the architecture of your poem, Don, and the contemplation on life and our short time on this good earth. You’ve got an amazing poetic voice!!! Thanks for sharing your lyric with the world.

  • Brian Volck says:

    Another stunning addition to a challenging project, Don. As with all your poetry, these little worlds cunningly made are well worth pondering now and on return visits. Thank you,

  • Susan says:

    Here I am laying Donne’s sonnet alongside yours. His a kind of theology. Yours a cinematic view of those truths.

    “…final credits…last breath, last scene, last poem…my life in the take-up reel…prepare for the sequel…”

    Such is the need–both for the wisdom of Donne and the vision of Martin. Thank you!

  • Ryan Apple says:

    As with your other poems in this cycle, I especially like your 21st-century “cover” of Donne’s theme. The humor in this poem’s 5th stanza was a welcome surprise.

  • Laurie Klein says:

    Late to the party yet it is so timely a read for me today as a friend lays dying. Amid the sobering realities I am freshly transfused with hope, more equipped now to take the long view.

    And, to echo the others, may your days be blessed, howsoever many are given. Please know that we are mightily blessed by you and your words.