The Truce Of The Bear

Poem By Rudyard Kipling

He showed me to a room
With dimmed lights and
Soft, soulful music.
It was appropriate.

I told the funeral director
I would do the laying out myself
It was important to me.
I would call him when finished.
He smiled the smile of an undertaker.
Did he understand how I felt?

The coffin was unlined
No need of white satin now.

I've brought with me the white box.
Do you remember it?
The one, which held all our keepsakes?
Well… it was silly me that insisted,
I thought they'd be good to look back on.
There's no need of them now.
What use are trinkets anyway?

The little pressed flower from
Our first meeting.
It looks so black and sad now.
Don't you think so?
The gold locket with its broken chain.
(It was tin really, but I never complained.)

My wedding veil with its double layer,
I could hardly see you, but I sensed you.
You were rigid. I thought it was wedding nerves.
Oh look! The photo of you blowing kisses
Toward the camera.
But it wasn't me taking the picture,
Just someone we'd met on honeymoon.
Sarina. She was very pregnant wasn't she?
And very happy too.
We kept in touch for a while.

Here's another one, of me this time.
Oh dear. It's the one with the black eye,
You were throwing pebbles at the beach
And one accidentally hit me. Remember?
It bled quite a lot didn't it?
The doctor was very quizzical,
But I managed to convince him in the end.

Oh look.
Here's the recording Sarina sent us
Of the baby's first cry.
She named the baby after you
Didn't she.

Oh I do babble on don't I?
I'd best get on with the packing,
There's quite a lot in here really.
I think I'll just tie it into one big bundle
And make a list on the package
With a laundry marker so it wont fade
And put it in the coffin.


Various nick-nacks

Oh I nearly forgot. (silly me.)
How could I forget that!
Fear was the most prominent wasn't it?
Never mind, it's on the list now
And all packed away.

The funeral car has arrived
But no hearse.
I'll carry the coffin on my knee.
I only needed a small one
As I packed everything tightly together.

There'll be no need of a service.
No need to waste money unnecessarily.

By the way, I packed some candles
And calamine lotion too.
I know it will be dark at your new place
And the heat overpowering.

It's time to go now but I was just wondering...
Will Sarina write a similar list
When her time comes.


Comments about The Truce Of The Bear

Hi Judith, Thanks for responding to this piece. It's amazing what women put up with at times isn't it?
Thankyou Edward, Life can be tough at times.
Heartache! ! Life and death. Thanks for sharing.
Unusual thoughtful poem. Great write, Poppy.
Hi Douglas, it was a case of wrapping up everything that belonged to the marriage and burying it, putting an end to it, but he lives.

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