Tag Archives: funeral

The Boatman

Henry

For Henry
 

In the rise of the sun and the fall of the tide
As the little boat slowdrifts away from the quay
Hold steady the rudder as he pulls alongside
 

As our sorrow and solace begin to collide
Amid fragments of light his new course we now see
In the rise of the sun and the fall of the tide
 

Though our hearts are still heavy, our tears undried
We loosen the reef knots and accept what will be
Hold steady the rudder as he pulls alongside
 

On the warm breath of summer sweet melodies glide
Over waves in the cool shade of Van’s Redwood Tree
In the rise of the sun and the fall of the tide
 

Let our arms release him and our tongues be untied
To sing Hallelujah, set his happy soul free
Hold steady the rudder as he pulls alongside
 

New horizons to chart with fresh hope as his guide
On his last voyage out on this tranquil blue sea
In the rise of the sun and the fall of the tide
Hold steady the rudder as he pulls alongside

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Filed under Poetry, Villanelle

Wake


 

I dislike funerals,
but the Celt in me
loves a decent wake.
 

Not the
polite,
curly white
cucumber sandwiches
and cups of tea
you could stand
a corpse up in

type of wake
 

or the sort
that forces those
wrestling
with a harrowed,
rawbone ache
to shake hands
with an averted gaze
and sympathetic shoes,
 

but a proper ‘do’,
a celebration
of a full-span life,
mottled with its share
of strife and scrape,
peppered with purpose
and lively liver spots,
 

where the skeletons
are more interesting
than the closets
and the china is chinked
like battle-scarred armour.
 

So, let’s skip the cemetery,
the shallow grave speech
from the unfamiliar preacher
while we pick worm-mulched mud
from beneath our nails.
 

Let’s save on the heating,
cut the cremation,
the lip-synching of hymns,
the scattering of ashes beneath
the sapling limbs
of a strategically placed yew.
 

The phoenix is a fallacy;
nothing ever rose,
scented from the pyre
but the stink of crisp skin,
the wraith of desire
as it whimpered unnoticed.
 

Let’s lay this body
down in the meadow,
on a table cloth
of butternut sunshine,
squashed between cordials,
bathed in a changeling breeze.
 

Open that bottle of Merlot
we were saving,
let it breathe the scent
of campions and daisies
that thrive
beyond the dried bouquet.
 

Allow the sun
to slip smoothly
down the neck of the sky,
instead of wrangling
with darkness
as it steals the day.
 

Unwrap our picnic of
cherished remnants
while Bacchus
opens our throats
and we lace our memories
with melodies and verse.
 

Let’s sleep,
arms wrapped around it
in the dewy night air,
beneath a blinking coverlet
of unknown mischief,
until it’s time to wake.
 
 

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Filed under Free Verse, Poetry