At a funeral of the previous generation

Sometimes  the locus of your role and significance in an event changes unexpectedly, perhaps even caused by something mundane, and the insight can be a shock.  The following poem was written for February 11th 2000, and carries the dedication ‘For Jamie and Rupert, with confidence.’

The heyday of Ridley's grocerery.

Passing time before the funeral gazing
through a former grocery bay window,
now reborn as a bistro, I watched strangers
weigh their flesh against the street’s steep slope.
A grey haired man climbed past, last seen in youth,
and in each pane the image blurred from boy to man
man to boy and back again, six lifetimes in an instant.
A speed to mock the act of killing time.

Later, at their grandmother’s funeral,
I find myself unsettled as I watch our sons,
not by death, but by change in life.
They stand with confidence and at ease,
I note with pleasure the focus is with them,
this is their time, they have its measure.
Only by their tenure do I recognise my loss
and sense the gentle terror of my new position
just this side of the balance.

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