Poems with pictures


Unfinished business

Who told the swan to be there

In the morning, at ten past seven


The five months of summer gone,

We came to the river

To spread the ashes of

Our father.

To the bridge, over still, mirrored glass,

Into a late season's rich greenness,

And an icy nip of what may be.

We chose our resting place

At the confluence of waters and land,

Just as he might have,

Pausing in the heat

Before splashing downstream,

On a strong backstroke.

Half consciously, we gave ceremony,

Words held up to the air:

"The flower plucked down"

"The dust to dust"

It fell strange and flat

On the water’s coldness

Masked not quite

By the petals of our roses.

We scuffed errant particles

Downwards from the grass,

Stopped, and caught our breath.

There, impossibly, he came.

Our audible shock,

As still he moved,

Caused him to turn and glance

A moment longer than was seemly.

He drew up,

And then accompanied us downstream,

Back to our bridge.

18th September, 1996

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