Pete Atkin sings
You Can't Expect To Be Remembered

by Clive James and Pete Atkin,
from Beware Of The Beautiful Stranger

[Much more at]


The bards of old were bold about their claims
          upon posterity
Petrarch, Shakespeare and Ronsard were never slow
          to guarantee
Their loved ones' immortality
They never said Farewell, they said So long —
So long lives this and this gives life to thee
They didn't doubt the power of a rhyme
Or the durability of scribbled pages
And so they wrote immortal lines to Time
That gave their love affairs to all the ages

And if eternity were still a good address
And if my skill were greater, fears were less
I'd do the same for you, my dear
But since it isn't and they aren't
I can't see my way clear
To promising the permanence of all our joy and sorrow
Very far beyond the early evening of tomorrow

You can't expect to be
Remembered like somebody in a song
Whose name fits to a string of quavers
Or last for anything like as long

No-one in times to come
Will read your praises written down to stay
In balanced lapidary phrases
Not that they wouldn't if I knew the way

You'd be there
With all the ladies of the sonnets, dark and fair
If only I could work the trick
Of giving local habitation to the air
But it just doesn't seem to click

You'll never hear from me
That your name will live until the sun is cool
You can't expect to be remembered
You wouldn't catch me being such a fool