Thursday, June 25, 2015
We said a blessing, called in the angels,
and you lay wheezing in your frail body
as I gently touched the top of your head
and told you it was all right to go.
I said goodbye
and knew it was the last time I would see you.
Now, weeks later, your last breaths squeezed out
we gather for another farewell, the formal ritual
of prayer and song to solemnise your passing.
Is it wrong to laugh and sing the madcap songs
you loved so much? You lie in waxen stillness
that belies your sad decline. Decay is rouged away.
As we carry you out the strains of your marriage song
fill the chapel, the candles have burned low, the hearse
waits like a slim shark for its dinner and our clumsy,
living bodies lower you with all the grace we can muster
into the bier that will carry you home. The priest walks
you out and we clutch each other as you drive away.
Rest now old one, you have all the time in the world.
Shanti mother, shanti…
19 June 2015