In My Parents’ Grave
when the aloneness of gathering winter pulled me inside,
I felt something ask me
to lie in the grave with my parents;
a request strange yet deep
that had me draw the curtains
and turn off the phone.
I was bidden to be shrouded, not boxed,
so I sought my long, hooded cape,
remnant of a desert retreat.
All livingness abandoned me.
I was no longer in my row of cottages
tucked between friendly neighbours
on a busy road.
With heightened senses and full awareness
I wrapped my own body in preparation for death
and asked my parents
could I lie between their long-dead bodies.
the peace of a body sunk heavily to the floorboards,
the peace of a mind oddly still,
the peace of a soul met with itself
in some vast sphere of bliss.
Slowly life called me back.
Slower still my body rose
and rejoined its need
for breath and movement,
warmth and water.
For two full days I travelled
between the touch of death
and mundane being.
But though I could not stay in death’s bright shadow,
there still remains her feather-swipe
upon my body.
Eulogy for Victor
Sometimes a man emerges on the world
full of his own importance,
so sure of some things that
he rattles our cages,
yet somehow sad and incomplete within himself.
He may be a Winston Churchill.
He may be a recluse.
He may attract
high praise or
Only some strange twist of
place and time
seems to make the difference.
We may love or hate such a man
but seldom do we feel indifferent.
He splits open our security.
He batters on the door of all things proper.
He upsets our apple carts
yet in so doing
gives us something
by which to define ourselves,
something uncomfortably scratchy
to rub against,
something growthful and wonderful
if we can but bear