A little under two weeks ago my mother died. I gave the eulogy at her funeral, and have composed this elegy as a way of working through the grief.
There is no world but this one,
Yet we are incomplete;
Left stranded and voiceless
When the anima disappears in the sea.
Helplessly, we cry out to memory
Since there is no other belief:
Farewell. Thank you. And hear this pledge:
we will remember you.
But the broken sessions of truth-telling
Are lost forever now, though I may coddle
Silent fantasies for years.
The words between us land in weak memory.
No consecration by presence.
No darting eye of thought.
No castigation by madness.
Merely fading recollections.
Merely words, written down.
Merely sweet sanctioned sentiment.
No more Sunday phone calls.
No more complaints about your health.
No more fears of tipping into hypomania.
After the flood, the illness
Possessed your inutile mind.
Decades followed in sterile locked wards.
Exiled from the Glasshouse Mountains,
Stranded, far from home,
You suffered the worst of tragedies,
And died too much alone.
Few attended your funeral, but there they saw
A young woman who before they never knew:
Photos of Dido before her betrayal.
And so the floating bier was lit
By a soaring arrow of words aflame.
And your ashes will mingle with the ocean,
While we stumble towards the same fate,
Muttering insane love for the world bereft.
Jeff Rich February 2018