seed of immortality

(on the funeral of Pope John Paul II,
our visit to Rome, and the death of my mother)

dark earth waits, dark grass
with trees and airs, the sound
of birds and the gentle, passing

I sit, watching the place of
white stone where you stood,
happy, and marvelled at
the moment - I remember

my frequent arm about your
shoulders, my fragile frame,
a fleeting touch you have
long left behind

did your seed grow?  is there
a tall, beautiful, slender
tree rising in heaven
from one small hope -
I see it not but
know it there

and this old man, slowly
turned in his polished
cypruswood, goes to that
echoing white vault,
stone walls, unnatural

and I miss you tonight - the
sun shines but I am empty,
blighted, my turned
blinds angled against
the day

      so far away, and unattainable -
the crimson robes billowing
and a book with words, open, silent,
people with flags flying, standing,
mouths closed

a small Scottish stone church
and orange flowers an affront -
I imagine the cold damp
green, April wind keen
and shearing off the

and I long for your
fingers, your laugh,
lost here in the city
where all my heart
falls on stony ground
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