Mary MacRae’s second collection
published Aug 10 by Second Light Publications. See order form (pdf file) for discount offers
Need help with travel to Second Light events? See Second Light Mary MacRae ‘Access to Poetry’ Fund
Round 9, Month 7: Katherine Gallagher is judge this month and she has has selected Iris Anne Lewis’s poem, Woodland Burial as her winner. Her 4 commended poems are by Shirley Bell, Rose Flint, Daphne Schiller and Anne Sherry.
A different type of pillow talk
we chose the plot together,
you rooted to the hospice bed
by tubes delivering opium sap.
You wanted oak and ash to
shelter you in broadleaved woods,
and in return to nurture them
with mouldered bone and flesh.
Tethered still to life, you slip into a
shadowed sleep. Death creeps closer,
steals your breath and shifts you to
a different state. I close your eyes.
Drifts of bluebells mark your spot.
Light, leaf-dappled, casts patterns on
your shaded grave. Bare branches arc
a latticed vault against the winter skies.
Encased in willow, you now begin
your slow and secret work in deep
secluded dark, becoming one
with earth and plants and rain and sun.
From its very first line, ‘A different type of pillow-talk, we chose the plot together,’ Iris Anne Lewis engages the reader with exactness of tone, image and phrasing to make this a beautifully intimate love-poem. ‘Tethered still to life, you slip into a / shadowed sleep’. The parallels and ironies charge the moment till like a coda, ‘Bare branches arc / a latticed vault against the winter skies’.