Penultimate Euphemism

by Christine Adams Beckett

When the Sonne shineth
Make Hay,  Whiche is to
Say,
Take Time When time
Cometh, lest time steale
Away.

John Heywood, A Dialogue Conteining the Number in Effect of all the Proverbs in the English Tongue, 1546

We’re burning daylight here,
When we should be making hay.
Why linger, lolly gag, dilly dally
Dwindle, piddle, procrastinate
Twiddle thumbs or amble along,
Tarry away, while away,
Take our sweet time while it burns?

We’re only here for a short visit,
Anyway, and opportunity
Is knocking loudly on the door,
Behind which the fat lady
Is warming up, trilling her
Scales, which are at a
Tipping point.

Can’t fritter away, vegetate,
Cogitate, kill time, horse around
On this boondoggle; time is ticking,
But that is that. It’s curtains for all
Of us, a done deal. The checkered
Flag is waving. We’ve saved up to
Buy the farm, a one way ticket,
Biting the dust on a permanent
Vacation. Elvis just left the building,
Dropped the mic, and
Is kicking a can, a bucket
To meet his maker and take a long
Nap with the fishes. He cashed in
His winnings, and is growing daisies
Now, retired. It’s past sunset.

We’re not ready to ring down the curtain,
Join the choir invisible;
We haven’t come to Jesus, on the other side.
Alas, just as sure as taxes,
We’re doing it,
And as we only have one,
We might as well
Get down to it.