we went to see him in hospital
they lost his teeth (he’s dying)
so we couldn’t make out his final words
his mouth sucked in and blew out:
the sound came singing, close then far off
he cried when we said:
‘the room is full of angels’ (it was)
he cried again with:
‘your mother’s here’
(she was: all neat curled hair, gloves and pretty box bag)
his mouth sucked in and blew out
a dangerous sea between rocks
and his round eyes looked at us
stunned, appalled
again he spoke: wind through pipes
a grey owl moving over the landscape
across the rooftops of the places humans live
across the roof of where he lives
where all his lives are happening, unfolding, even now:
he turns to drop the black kettle on the range
rinse his cup under the tap
the strong hands – too big now –
reaching for another hand, a human
gripping on for dear life
the gift of breath
the gift of sound
the gift of love
if i could have a wish
it would be that he know peace.
not peace as in end of the night
when the TV’s switched off
but the ferocious, thunderous mother of peace
the one that rings in the ears
rips life from life
eternal wild rejoicing
tossing us over and over again
onto the foamy shores of life
that seismic peace, epic, cataclysmic, silent
the mother from which we’re torn