(Love without consuming doth eternal burn.)

Sometimes we don't know love or its depth till
far too late.  Even now I find myself
picking the bones of memory to find
another coral in the depths.
     I took
what others said of you mindlessly, words
to bypass heart, for they were as rootless
as sentiment, set themselves to by pass
memory and mind, while you spoke ego
less and wise: love had her need to stick
where she was not wanted between wilful
overwheening rage and a scrap of her
own flesh and blood; heard herself called 'selfish,
greedy, proud, cold and polite', surely well
brought up. You who walked out once rather than
fight dirt with dirt, stood to defend your own,
you ran at cruelty with a fist upraised-
abandoned love, life, music, your own ways, for
grace of poverty and little things,  life
gone into folded laundry, something warm
to eat, and putting out the bin, water
drawn and something clean to put on, trivial
stuff to garden the village of a mighty soul.

how to keep accounts ("One and thrippence for
marmite? He saw you coming, girl!" and "You
go back to the butcher and tell him he's
not to sell you so much fat because your
Grandma isn't there to keep an eye
on him")  Didn't notice love cause there was
not a fancy word among them, didn't
see the warm orange and lemon and the
dainty sandwich on a plate waiting, or
the warm bath when one came home through the rain
or the way you stood for me - great Irish
bones akimbo standing between me and
those who would wreck a child - didn't know for
love you listened by the hour to faltered
scales,  taught one to draw threads and sew a seam,
use a ruler so one's little house stood
square - watched one's morals,  language, dress -
burned Miller when he was brought into This
House. So it wasn't that I didn't say
what I felt, it was that I never knew
what I saw. I still don't know it all. Prayers
in the darkness, the knowledge that sometimes
one has to go and that a rebuke can
be as needful to love as praise is. - smell
paul duval, the blue delicate, the lace
pressed cream against the throat you could train any -
spoke as if we had  understanding, there
was no temper in you anywhere, no
nagging. As I say, sometimes we don't speak
in time, sometimes we don't see even now -
when it is far too late, I bend to lay
finger under a comfrey flower.  How
you loved them, taught me their properties. Too
late ? Perhaps you saw all along, that your
love fed my soul, knew it would keep me safe
as long as it could and then it was up
to me. Did you see my weakness too ? You
should have gone without squealing resentment,
incessant scolding at your childling age. You
plead yet, yet do I not understand. How

could I tell you were a hero fortress?
All I ever saw was patterned days, your
pain wracked mouth, eyes that still move my mind: Walls
of power disguised to background lilac, fern,
violets that deserved their nurture for
their loveliness ,the smell of clean softness
and the taste of love. Thick irish stew, warm
oil on a twisted limb. Strong hands that blessed,
to chide, or  touch.  "You owe me one and six
I owe you thrippence. What does that come to?"

Now we say our prayers. And I who saw nor
spoke in time shall speak now in eternity
of love that grows past death, past dotage, past
dependence, Too much love's hero for an
empty sentiment.  Love not too easy
was called cold. Such freezing everlasting
burns. Consumes not, nor controls, but ever
living burns. You disbelieved this
    resurrection of the soul
were not afraid to die. Some where in heaven
I believe, you ask the Almighty Father if
            he's 'wanting in'



(C) Copyright Feast of Stephen, 2000
Alys Thorpe
All Rights Reserved