Tuesday, 26 November 2013

'some small solace'

On Sunday Robert and I made like Goldilock and went on the hunt for bears. (Ummm ... sorry ... very bad pun ...). We were looking for the graves of Robert's forebears.

And we found the graves. All three plots - his maternal grandparents (who emigrated over here from Scotland) and  his paternal grandmother's and great-grandparents' graves. 

Looking for names on headstones can be like looking for needles in a haystack; or for grains of grey among  grey. Luckily, Robert had a general idea of where the graves were, so it didn't take us too long.

I don't find cemeteries to be morbid places. Especially not when they are spread with carpets of cheerful marigolds.

 To visit the grave of someone affords focus - a designated place to stand awhile and remember someone's importance; to remember their life. 


Ever since death touched my family when I was a teenager, I've known personally how it can blow cold into your life with its power to, it seems almost indiscrminately, snatch a loved person from your side, leaving you bereft.

 The poem that I have selected for this post, is about grief. Part of what the poem does, is to use the ordinary and the often un-noticed smallness of everyday things, as a way to highlight the crushing inevitability of both time and death. 'Time does not discriminate, but in the end will always turn wood to stone'.

shadowed veins

I watch as the mountains
become bearded with shadows

and a wind on all fours
       scatters the lake before it.

After death there is some small solace,
a measure 

of comfort found in a pinch of memory.
Like the memory I hold of you,

your amused eyes
under a brow I thought was permanent.

In the grain of this wooden table,
a tree's shadowed veins

reminds me that time does  not

but in the end will always turn
wood to stone. 

Through rain the falling scales
of a grey warbler's song

forms its familiar, mournful weave
of monotony and grief. Yet listen again

and it is the song of a bird
no bigger than an egg cup.

Kay McKenzie Cooke


kj said...

Oh Kay....

We learn what we must. And still I hold tight to that tiny bird song .

The poem is beautiful, Kay. I am grateful to know you as your friend for sure , and also as your fan xo


Kay Cooke said...

kj - Awww thank you :) The tiny bird holds a lot of weight!

Clocking Out

 I have been neglecting this blog for some months. I think perhaps I should face facts and accept that it is indeed time to retire this blog...