Sunday, 8 May 2011

Remembering the dead

My cousin died by his own hand ten years ago today, aged 22.  This is a poem I wrote for him then.  Nothing has changed.


Prawle Point

Don’t imagine for a moment
that I didn’t think of you
just because the sun spilt honey
and the tumbling lanes drowsed,
mesmerised by flowers.
True, my memory tripped
like wind through wheat fields,
chasing Chinese whispers, wild rumours,

only to eddy on itself
as we stumbled down the blinded combe
towards your crucible of fleet, elusive dreams,
where, beyond a crest of hawthorn,
a cormorant kept the look-out
from its lonely pedestal.
Basalt angel?  Reliquary urn?
My eyelid flickered in the glare. 

Fifteen days ago we launched
your narrow, wooden boat.
Flags flapped low, taut wires and lines
against high masts tolled your passing.
And one black cardigan, forgotten,
lifted from a railing on the breeze,
as hapless – hopeless – as the sail
of the Athenians’ homebound ship.


Deborah Harvey © 2001, 2011

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