Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Prepared Eulogy

"If you start counting now," my mother would say, as we waited in the car park, "he's sure to be with us before you reach one hundred." We would start, each number intoned teasingly so as to tempt my father to turn up. It seemed to us, as children, that we could verifiably influence the duration of our wait: before my sisters and I got to one hundred, usually towards the higher nineties, my father, commuting back from work, would emerge from the train station.

Once, in life, my father failed to come back,
Delaying with demurrage in death.
Homing, had we counted hundreds more,
As inveiglers of schedulers, of rail track
And of fate, and appealed under breath
In thousands, then, to a causal law,
We could not have delivered him to emerge.
He left work when it was dark, timely
For his tube, were he only to carve
A thoroughfare over the verge – small verge,
Might as well have been a steppe, that he
Expected would trim or even halve
His journey, but he strode into a crossbar,
Horizontal, hidden and head high,
Which split his spectacles at the ridge.
While he journeyed across that verge, veering far
As the hospital, for stitches, I
Was counting fruitlessly to abridge
His journey home.