MEMENTO VIVERE

i.m. Ian Jones

 

There is no right age to die – or way to mourn.

As I thought of him, the small bush I could see

from the desk I wrote at – a plant whose name

we had forgotten, lost – was burgeoning:

its leaves greening, swelling, as spring, despite

that day’s north westerly, took hold. In time –

which he no longer had or had in

profligate abundance – an array

of delicate pink and white flowers would bloom.

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WAITING BY THE RIVER

We were waiting in the car – in a car park

by a river in spate – for mummy, daddy

and grandma to return. Storm driven rain

was tattooing on the roof but we

were snug playing I spy. ‘What next?’ you said.

‘How about singing me a song?’ I said.

You said, ‘I don’t know what to sing,’ I said,

‘So, let that be the first line of your song.’

 

We spoke of rhymes and repetitions.

And she made her song by the rushing waters,

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A LETTER TO ARTHUR RANSOME

‘The island had come to seem one of those places seen from the train that belong to a life in which we shall never take part.’

Swallows and Amazons, Arthur Ransome

 

Encouraged and supported by my doughty,

doting mother and her two sisters – all

elementary school girls – at nine I passed

the entrance exam for a local, day

boys’ preparatory school. We called the teachers

‘Sir’, irrespective of gender, and ‘Ma’

behind their backs if they were female.

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THE CONSOLATION OF PHILOSOPHY

‘Senator Boethius is the last of the Romans whom Cato or Tully could have acknowledged as their countryman.’

Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon

 

Dante and Beatrice saw Boethius –

the sixth century consul, chamberlain,

intellectual and family man –

in Paradise: one of the twelve shining lights

in the sun’s heavenly firmament,

along with Solomon and Aquinas.

 

Imprisoned in a tower for alleged treason

and under sentence of execution,

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SOMETHING OF SPRING

The leafless apple trees in the old orchard

are rimed with lichen. Some are festooned

with mistletoe. Late February’s sun

lights each dark twig and branch – each evergreen leaf

and silver berry. In the distant woods,

rooks call, nest-building. Unrelenting winter,

that besieges all, is beginning

to recede. Soon, curled, fleshy leaves will come

and, eventually, fragile white blossoms.

Apples will grow. The mistle thrush will do

what it does. The mistletoe will spread.

And such relentless fecundity

endlessly surprises.

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