(I/m of Mairéad)
If I could give you breath of life, I would.
I'd take you back to where the Gods ordained
our lives should be suffused forever with
the smell of mountain heather after rain.
If I could once more dig for you to sow
your seedling plants to scent the air with flowers,
or stroll with you the garden paths and see
you marvel at the cherry blossom showers,
I'd love to give you daffodils in Spring,
or sea pinks gathered by a sheltered shore,
in Summertime red fuchsia and bluebells,
in harvest time fresh fruits for Winter's store,
if I could take your pain and leave you free
to learn the things you never got to know,
to give you years you never should have lost,
to see again the sunset's scarlet glow.
If I could have these things at my command
I'd pay whatever price the fates demand.
Dressed in white lace over port-wine red
we smelled of incense, lillies,
hyacinths and beeswax candles.
We recited the Latin Mass verbatim
and swung the thurabil in wide arcs,
clinking the chain in perfect timing with the choir.
Sometimes we processed backwards,
scattering petals before the gold monstraance
and sang the Tantum Ergo
with falsetto voices ringing in the rafters.
Angels all, devout and pure.
When the Parish Clerk was busy
we sipped the altar wine,
ate communion breads
and made rude shapes,
genetalia usually, of warm, dripping wax
or made wax-ball missiles
to pelt at one another
when the lights went out at Tenebrae.
The moulder of the most realistic penis
went on to be a urologist;
the lad who quaffed the most wine
became a sommelier at Claridges
and the best shot with the wax balls
joined the American Marines
and was shot by a sniper
during the Tet Offensive in 1968.
(Posted for Mairéad to mark our 12th wedding anniversary)
In the first days of May
the withered leaves
-last year's memories-
from the beech hedge
bluebells in bunches
swirled in the breeze.
They piled in little drifts
in sunny corners
while the first signs
of new growth
were just visible on the tips
of straggling branches.
At the base
I could see through
to the other side,
down the empty road
and I knew
you would not
be coming back.