For my mother
Coming downstairs so slow and steady
Crinkled and wrinked with ruffled hair
I hold her dreams close to me -
Pause at the ending of eternity -
Until I have drunk two strong coffees,
Smoked an imaginary cigarette,
Said good morning to those whom I love
And who are now amongst the dead;
Recite a quiet antiphon in our muddled head.
Then look out of the French windows that are never opened
Into the garden we have spent sixty plus years moulding into beauty,
We hobble to the back door. Step gingerly out onto a step
Look at the greens and greys and blues and yellows and ah!
The blues strike a chord with me as in a Beethoven symphony.
And then I remember some words that apply to me:
Happy is the son whose faith in his mother remains unchallenged.
Throughout all the births, marriages (of a sort) and deaths
My mum laboured for her family. When she hid from the rent man, she smiled,
When the quiet came after rows with my dad, she smiled at me, surreptitiously.
She taught me, without the benefit of words, that tears are the price of smiles,
She taught me to embrace the sentimental as any strong man can
And her smile will endure with me, and, laughingly, accompany me into eternity.