He stood there thinking of the week just past,
then slowly closed the blinds. The early frosts
had savaged her prize blooms. She now seemed one
with them, her waxy skin, so tissue-thin,
so like a petal when the sun shines through,
it glowed, so full of subtleties of shade
and hue. She'd watched it all with hungry eyes:
begonias that should have had months more
to live, their heads inverted on the path
in stages of decay, instead had changed
from beauty into loveliness. She'd seen
it from her made-up bed downstairs, missed not
one detail of the winter's slow advance:
hydrangeas finding subtleties to fit
their fading hues and holding on to their
last fires. She revelled in the natural
masterclass of beauty blossoming in
what we call decay. All things, she'd once said,
she had found too late. Now gardening! Still
under fifty, it had seemed to break the
mould - until this final illness and her
strong content to join in nature's soiree.
The moon petals the sea. Rose petals the sea. Stone sea. Stone petals. Rose petals of stone. Stone rising before me. Sea moves. How moves...
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extract from the poem Koi by John Burnside All afternoon we've wandered from the pool to alpine beds and roses ...
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