Sunday, January 20, 2013

When You Die, Dear Friend

When you die, dear friend....

When you die, dear friend,
And your body is buried
In splendour and glory
And wild wild celebration,
I know strange things will start to happen at your grave.
It will be a place of weird and never before seen flowers,
Whose deep colours will dazzle all eyes;
It will be a rendezvous for happy lovers;
And a place where 
A spring will start flowing,
Of the clearest, purest water:
And those who drink it,
And wash themselves in it,
And make love beside it,
Will all bask in huge happiness.
It will be a place of sweet miracles,
Of dancing and song,
And after a while,
When your bones are all scattered,
And your name quite forgotten,
Theatre festivals will spring up there
And attract their happy thousands
And no-one will quite know why.
But I will tell them.
I will be an improbable crone,
On my shaky sticks, my wild hair strewn with flowers,
Wearing the most gorgeous, if faded, silk dress.
And I will tell them:
“My dear friend is buried here.
She lived life fully
And she accepted death gladly
And that is why miracles happen in this most holy place.
That is why lovers are happy and fruitful
And why, every morning,
A delicious chocolate cake always appears
On the flower draped stone that marks the site of her grave.”
The Vatican will phone me,
The experts will ask me,
The tight arsed men in their scarlet dresses
Whose profession it is to examine candidates for sainthood
And whose frocks reveal a truth
They spend all their energy denying.
I will tell them:
“Look around you, dear sirs, 
For evidence of her miracles;
And above all look deep in your withered hearts.”
And they did, and their hearts burst into flower,
They acknowledged her sainthood and abandoned the church.
And I tell you now, dear loved one,
Confronting the future with such clear-eyed courage,
The real miracle is that somehow,
Somewhere impossibly distant, impossibly close
All this is happening

Johanna C. Edinburgh, 26 July 2008

I wrote this for a dear friend four years ago. She knew then she was dying; and on Saturday I learnt of her death. She did not want any service or memorial, so I have suppressed the mention of her name.
I want the poem to be read, though; people of her courage are rare, and should be honoured.

Thank you dear, dear heart. How beautiful, and such a wonderous thought that could only come from your sweet heart. She will live on in many people's hearts - and thank you for writing this- it made me smaile and a shed a tear - which is just as it should be, I think. Your beautiful poem will be with me for a long time, and maybe, just maybe, if a few us keep in in our herts one day it will happen. much love
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