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

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