After the Funerals
one by one they take their leave; parting
without formal courtesies
startled by the shock, again, as
one by one they take their leave.
Affection, understanding, even knowing
what there was to value, come too late:
gifts delivered past their use by dates.
The plane strains upwards in the night, banks, and there,
below the city that we thought we knew;
drab streets, a park, its monuments, some houses
where the welcome meant we didn’t want to leave,
revealed as glowing labyrinth: vast, intricate and beautiful.
Too late we realise, again, how much there was to learn
before the detail disappears, becomes a pool of light
shrinking to a faint glow in the skies
behind us as we head towards another dawn.
So one by one they leave
stories that I didn’t understand and now forget,
lives whittled back to facts and dates
no one contests or verifies.
Box brownie photos in an old shoebox?
Left trying, once again, to reconstruct a map
I never stopped to memorise.
(Fom Rough Spun to Close Weave)