Sunday, October 01, 2006

Evensong

Sunday,
Chichester Cathedral,
I sit
on a cold wooden bench,
a silent moon
trembling
as the sign of the cross
wobbles above me.

Today I love you
no more, no less
than any other day.
Today, you breathe
the same air
you’ve always breathed.

Yet you are not the same.
Your breath is not the same,
and the air is wilting.

You said all year
how you dreaded the
Big Seven O.
How you couldn't believe
you had got
so old.

And my sister calls you
from a mobile
just to hear you
make any sound.
Just to wish you
Happy Birthday.

It doesn't matter
much to me if you
lie there thinking
we're all crazy
for crying over you this way.
For wringing our hands,
and clinging
like impossible lovers.

In Chichester Cathedral
I write your name, once,
on a square piece of paper -
put it in a box.
A shy act
that makes me uncomfortable
as I don't like
to think of you as a soul
that needs praying for.

And I want to lie down
on that smooth altar stone,
rest my head near
the empty chalice,
and shout ‘take me!'
to the lineage of saints -
my skirts open,
my mouth
filled with their blood.

But I walk the aisle slowly
like the cat's got my tongue.

Today I love you
no more, no less
than any other day.
Though more perhaps
today, for knowing
you do not even remember
it is your birthday.

And today my sister ran
to the nearest cathedral.
The sound of the organ
could not
drown out
her tears.

3 comments:

bereweber said...

this is beautiful Clare!
and caring and sad
but beautiful
love the rhythm and the imagery
the cathedral, the skirt
and the fluctuations in the amounts of love

Joseph Knecht said...

I like very much what you write.

Be careful! You're well on your way to becoming a serious writer!

Seek editors.

Vitam impendere vero!

w.alt burns said...

very good