In Death As In Life
Lilies and roses were thrown in to escort
her scattered ashes, but rather than sailing off
to the horizon, meandered and circled,
just like the carrots and sprouts she’d start boiling
at nine o’clock of a Christmas morning
to extract every sliver of flavour and goodness.
At last we used sticks to assist her departure,
stirring and driving her into the current.
Several grandchildren were over-zealous,
exacted revenge for a tongue fond of scolding,
laughed in the face of that liquid glare.
The flotilla cut through the glassy green river:
fallen branches and treacherous stones were skirted
as if she possessed the whirr of the hoover
and they were so many tables and sofas.
Over deeps and shallows the body fragmented,
we followed her progress unblinkingly.
While you pondered the nature of death and rebirth
and imagined those ashes as spermatozoa
racing each other to be first to the ocean,
I remembered her face down, blindly elbowing
a passage through the New Year sales.
Ray Miller, Socialist, Aston Villa supporter, Faithful Husband. Life’s been a disappointment.