Saturday, February 2, 2013
Alfred 11 -- a poem by Murray Alfredson
No way I’d call it tragedy,
his death; for full-ripe were his years
at ninety two, and rich his life,
a humble man and no high-flyer
yet learned in his way and wise
knower of plants and animals,
a gardener, a sanctuary.
A one-eyed magpie found refuge
in his garden safe from owls within
the barricade of fig-tree branches
and amply fed by worm-rich soil.
He was no knowledge-hoarder; ever
a teacher he shared with all who asked
or showed an interest; never a pusher,
folk soon enough discovered him.
And every time I need to know
a plant or how to raise one, I feel
the gap my father stepped from
so quietly in the early hours
when none of us expected, leaving
a hole that never quite has closed.
Yet often in my quieter moods
his face appears, his lifting eyebrows.
I’ve no idea how many lives
he touched, but hundreds packed his church,
sang lustily his funeral hymns.
-- published in Touch: the journal of healing. 3 (Jan 2010)