Today's poem is by Landeg White

The Double Wake

Four months the skies have wept
unceasingly, but today she's back
hoeing again where once were flowerbeds,

her mourning, after this winter's
second bereavement and as close
to the heart strings, calmer. Twice

were things to be done, not just dogs
going on with their doggy life, but life
for the participants, tickets

to be bought, clothes ironed, a coffin
ordered, airports to be faced
where everything you have to do's

a denial of all you're feeling. Then
the vacuity of flight. By the time
there's time for grief, there's already

the desolation of grief somehow missed,
that sitting all night with the newly dead
that delivers them their due. But after

this rain-swept winter when the skies
have loured like Adamastor of the Storms,
the sluiced flowerbeds are stirring

with tubers she had forgotten, crocuses,
ammonites and grape hyacinths,
and before the oranges have fallen,

the almond trees are in tiny leaf.
She's back, communing in the cold
sunlight of the year's turn, in that patch

cleared of ironical balm — more real
than any words of mine who'd
juggle planets to lighten her double grief.

Copyright © 2003 Landeg White All rights reserved
from Where the Angolans Are Playing Football
Parthian Books
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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