For Finbar, in Memoriam.
The stars here are like apples
Crowding the tree.
You could have picked them one by one,
Kept them in the pocket
Closest to your heart.
But it is I who watch the stars,
I, who cannot name them as you did.
The pockets of my heart are filled
With holes, not stars, the bright apples
Always out of reach.
There you were, late evenings, you hissing, bristling
grisly old sorehead, making me sidestep
on the woodland path that leads to home,
your unstrokable fur raised like masts
flying warning flags. You pirate of my dustbins,
you scavenger of my garden bulbs and roots,
you nuisance old, grumpy old, Man of the Woods,
there you always were. Not as now, folded over,
humped inert at the roadside and I crouching by
the open door of my car, weeping and begging
forgiveness, and you lying there dumb.
(publishd Envoi, 2003)
The Power of Three.
For three months all she
dreamed about was you:
she named your name,
practised saying it
sewed bright quilts,
just for you.
All you came to was
three dark stains
on the bed-sheets:
three black Furies