Sunday, October 30, 2011

When the poem calls, but you're not sure you're up to the task

Yesterday I met with my mother and Greg, my younger brother, to deal with my father's ashes. Dad died a year ago tonight, and the time had come to do the task.

My father was a successful harness racing trainer for much of his life. He had his funeral service at Globe Derby Park, which is the major harness racing facility in South Australia. Dad had many successful races there during his training career.

Globe Derby Park is also the place where the ashes of my older brother, Jeff, were placed. Jeff was Dad's reinsman, driving the horses to many wins. Jeff died at the age of 33, nearly 18 years ago.

So I drove to Mum's place, and along the road I kept seeing metaphors. Crows, and the bodies of dead birds in particular, were a recurring theme for the initial part of my journey. While I was driving, I was thinking about the poem I would write in honour of the event. The scattering of ashes is a powerful thing, full of thoughts and images and feelings.

Once I arrived at Mum's place, we found out where Greg was and met with him at the track. We took the ashes to the finish line and Greg released the ashes. There was a breeze to assist and I felt a deep sense of rightness as I saw the ashes leave the urn.

Once Greg had nearly emptied the urn, he gave it to Mum. We all walked over to Jeff's memorial stone and stayed with Mum as she released the last of Dad's ashes. They were laid to rest next to the stone, amidst the rose bushes there. It was easy to imagine Dad and Jeff finally able to get together again to talk about horses, as they often did when living.

The rest of yesterday was taken up with poetry, the Poetry Readings at the Pub in Gawler. I'm on the committee that runs this event, which happens once a month. I continued thinking about the poem I had to write, but wasn't able to write it. I had a strange happy/sad afternoon. I was tied up with the goings on, but also tied to what I'd done in the morning. I felt good taking my part in the proceedings, so wasn't resentful at not having the chance to pen my memorial to Dad. I felt I could easily do it when the time was right.

Now though, I'm sitting at home with not much to do, and I still haven't written down any words. I feel almost afraid to start, in case I mess it up. There are several things I've said I'll do today, and they are affecting me in some way and the words don't feel ready to come yet. I can still feel them though, sitting within and warming me with their love.

This is a thing that I want to do, and I need to do. This is a thing I will do.

No comments: