FOR THE SICKBED OF CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS
Boswell went to Hume's deathbed; let me see,
he smugly thought, if godless men can die
as well as Christians. Heaven is a lie,
Hume told him, confidently, peacefully.
'Some drunk, some foetus - what would be the worth
to them of life eternal? I care not,
for any state worse than the life I've got
that ends, is done with calmly'. And his mirth
at Boswell's consternation, not unkind,
is how we hope to face our own last ends,
how hope to face the well-intentioned friends
who pray for us. And yet we are not blind.
It's love that prays, and so we show respect
but to our friend alone, not to their sect.