John-Ward Leighton

SOONER THAN I CAN IMAGINE

Charles Leighton – June 1914
Charles Leighton – June 1914

Dad’s Military Funeral , May 1970
Dad’s Military Funeral , May 1970
Poems planted by the wind
starting on the bare, bare ground
thrusting into your grave with blood red root.
Bursting into the now with leaf and stem,
the well kept trees say nothing.
It’s left to the dying flowers
to sing the Requiem.

There are windows on the tombstones
those of freshly murdered instants.
Waiting… for our eyes to make contact.
Waiting… for our hearts to remember.
The young faces from those instants
starring into the camera lens, some smiling
as if they knew their images
would transcend this mean reality.

I see images of you
in all those yellowing photographs,
alive again in the fiction of memory.
The years have flown by
but if I close my eyes
the fiction will make you young,
that mere fraction of a second
will make you live again.

That ceremony beside the coffin
that held all that was not in mind
is now the fiction of your demise.
I hear you still
your footfall gives me pause
to realise you have borrowed someone
to remind me of you.
I see you daily in my shaving mirror.
I startle myself when your voice and words
fall out of my amazed mouth
and I laugh and hear you in the echo,
knowing that someday
perhaps
sooner than I can imagine
I will join you.