Ruminations on a Death in the Pyrannees

There he lay
on his back
No breath,
so still.
The chill that spread
To my touch of fingers
on his neck.

Blue around those lips
Which had spoken to us
With such joy,
such anticipation
Of things to come
A friendship just begun
As we’d climbed
With bubbling sense of jubilation
Through dry oak leaves
Along the trail.

The feel of his cold jaws
between my still warm hands
The small face
With eyes
Closed tight
Gazing nowhere.

The smell of morning breath
On such insensate tongue
Such intimacy
With what had become
A rigid object
containing nothing
But what was like the ground
Where he had dropped
That life he had been living
With such spirit
Such flights of choice
Having gone from this place
Of flesh and bones
Of minerals and stone
Freed from bounds
Of cells and voice.

Pressing the chest above a heart
So still
Again, again
Pounding on the door
Of a room
Emptied of all
Its personal effects.
All family photos, letters
Rugby clothes
Lettered tee-shirts, shorts and pants,
Even rumpled bed.
Nothing there to mark
The warmth of all he’d lived
Just empty chambers echoing
With all he‘d sensed
All he’d become
Since first breath
Filled his lungs.

Hearing voices calling out his name
I called out to all I hold within
To bring back the breath
Of this body that had contained
Such spirit, those words that
Promised more to come.
My own breath now
For moments
Came in gasping gulps
Set with tears
And strain.

No answer came.
Just murmured words
and breathing
Of those whose love
Had intertwined with his
And who will still be hearing
Echoes of his name

The Woven Cloth of Love

Long form lying

legs stretched

Waking from 

or waking into

Darkness from light 

Or into light from dark

Swinging up ( or is it down) gently

Swinging back.


Pulling threads of each place

Into one another


Thoughts and dreams

Catching hold of thread ends 

from where I’ve been 

Into what is seeming now

Until some last part 

of that long story

Becomes part of what 

I know 

And soon 

will carry onward


I see my son 

At seven, swimming 

Towards me

In a deep and winding  river 

With a dark-skinned friend.

Swimming well, returning 

from a first day 

At some new children’s camp 

To come back to our summer group

In a house on some small lake.


Standing on the forest floor,

Brown leaves beneath my feet

I see now he is trying

to be self-contained 

As he sees me on the shore.

He calls to me “The camp is fine!”

As he clambers up the bank;

While  I  bend

to wrap him in a towel 

brought to keep him warm

his friend climbs out with frowning face

to join us, blurting

“But they’re not nice at all!”

With those words, my son’s brown eyes

begin to shine

Unshed tears becoming

moons of light

As his heart swings wide 

And he tells me of the disappointments

and the wounds

they have suffered

All day long.


He shivers and I reach down 

In the gesture of a mother

Lifting up her son

And he puts his arms around my neck

As I pull him to my chest.

He wraps his  thin strong legs around my waist

And I walk with him in warm embrace

His head against my own 

His friend holding the fingers of my hand

As he walks close against my side

And my son gently cries and tries his best

Not to be too harsh

With what has caused such pain.


Filled  with love and sorrow 

I walk along 

Until we both dissolve 

In mid complaint

And I am left with

All this love and this regret 

To weave 

As gleaming threads 

Into what we call

The day.