TJ (17th June 1958 / England)

After Me

Mostly I’ll be steam…..
Plus the smoke of the elements of me light enough to fly
And small enough to squeeze through the crematorium chimney filters.
Some of me, maybe, will have to be cleaned off these scrubbers
By someone with a high-pressure hose
To surf and sluice me down some drain or other
As dirt destined for culvert or watercourse,
To become a silt deposit at the mouth of a harbour
Flushed twice daily by fresh and salt water –
Who knows:
Maybe I’ll become the grain at the heart of a grey pearl
Strung about some sophisticée’s neck or studded to her ear.
Me, more likely,
I’ll be stuck between the treads of a wading kid’s yellow wellies,
Hosed off at home in some suburban back garden,
To enjoy a traditional eternity of pushing up daisies.

The me too small to be caught in the filter’s clutches
Will rise and fall and fall and rise to meet and mingle with moisture-laden air
Becoming cloud-seed, molecules of damp clinging,
Making of me a droplet, then a dropp too dense to dance upon cloud nine,
Falling earthward as stair-rodding summer rain
To smash myself to smithereens on a steaming patio
Sizzling like the sausages on a now deserted barbecue.

The me that didn’t smoke or steam himself up and out of the last place I rested entire
Would be ash barely an eighth of my baby-weight
[Strange after a lifetime of growing and living I’m set to leave as so much less]
I’ll be scattered along Dancing Ledge: the cliff coastline of our courtship -
I like the idea that that’ll produce infinite possibilities and permutations
Of the what-was-once-me meeting the what-was-once-you
And falling into each other’s arms again and again
In a wished-for wheel of somewheres, somehows, somewhens.

Whether we’re sand grains together,
Cheek-to-cheekily conspiring
To nourish Marram Grasses deep down below Studland’s dunes
As private places for young lovers to do what young lovers love to do;
Or once in a Blue Moon falling as dancing snowflakes:
Spiraling and pirouetting around each other
[just as we did around the kitchen],
To settle, side-by-side, into a perfect, soft, linen-white bed
[just as we did under the beams of Bruebach];
Or gushing out of the Earth’s mantle in our deep red-golden, newborn glory,
Metamorphosed and molten-married for the millionth and not one time too many:
Whether and whatever,
My Darling,
I long to love you in all Eternity.

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Comments (1)

This is a wonderful piece in the handling of associations within the subject - and grimly humorous too which lightens it and makes it read so well.... My favourite verse is the last one, in fact this one could almost stand on it's own Tony. Above all this is a beautiful love poem.