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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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Monday, 16 September 2013
Why can only the living mourn?
What makes us suppose
that only the living grieve?
Now all but lost in this new
and familiar world
of tall, leaning-together buildings,
grey and grubby as they are.
I walk between them in the rain,
tasting the water, soaking it in,
into the pores of my skin,
into every sensation.
Pure water. Holy water. Water for baptism.
Water enough to end a world
or build another drop by drop,
enough to bring world peace,
enough to wash the old one away.
I know these tenements of old,
she lives in one of them, she whom I mourn.
All around me the echoes of water. Water running.
Water splashing and gurgling.
Holy water to bless my mood.
Not to rubbish or vanquish it,
but to fashion and welcome it.
And she, does she grieve for me?
she in her tall, dark world,
topped by the light of the sun?
Does she hear my rain. Or even see it?
Does she know that I grieve?
that not only the living can mourn?
Sincere thanks for all the kind and interesting comments on How do I prepare for death? and huge apologies if I frightened anyone. It was, as always, interesting to hear of the beliefs of our Druid, Hindu and other friends. Again, today's poem was not specifically addressed to my present condition, but I guess must have been influenced by it. Hope it was not another fright or a poem too far!
As for the even more appreciated enquiries and good wishes for my health, I cannot begin to tell you how much they mean to me. I did manage to type out a personal reply to each one -- and forgot to save it!! That is about the measure of my present state of mind. I was warned that I would feel exhausted towards the end of my treatment, but in fact I did so from the first day, and still do beyond midday. That might not have mattered, as A.M. was when I mostly worked, but A.M. now seems to be taken up by a steady stream of medics of every hue and tint. I will now do my best to get round to you all. Please keep the comments and posts coming, and I will continue to attempt the same. It is just weakness, sleepiness and a lack of opportunity preventing me from doing more at present. Thanking you once again.