Elizabeth Smither


To Mai, a month after her death

Such stillness the undertaker achieved
as if we were to think no further
or only in one direction. Stilled

at the committal, the incense lingering
the reluctance to move, to take you further
surely that showed a reluctance of thinking?

The church has returned to its old bareness.
Sermons come and go, a child is baptised.
Other funerals follow yours through the wide doors.

Now it is as if you did something amazingly gallant
laying yourself down, getting wet, over a small stream bed
making yourself into an impetuous cloak-thrower

and then whirling in fire, melting at last into
your most beautiful expression, then, calmed
prepared to be scattered to the winds.


Author’s Note


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