I have been sent the following two poems in remembrance of Lynne Tattum, who died of breast cancer in 2005. The first is by her husband, Alastair Pook. The second is by her close friend Maddy.
out to lunch
you told me
you loved me
as the rain from your hair
kissed our lips
in your bed
"let's stay here
gone to earth
your cold hand
in mine now
not a thing
how could we
have known then
the storm was
A H Pook
"This poem was written in 2005, a year after my wife Lynne died of breast cancer. Lynne lived very much i the moment and I wanted to recapture some of the intensity of those happy and sad epiphanies. "Half only" refers to how I felt for a long time after Lynne's death, as one parted from a lover"
The Last Dance
Through a morphine mist you smiled,nodding forgiveness
for our clumsy intrusiions on your sleep and dignity.
We marked each breath of your now ravaged brittle body
accepting this was our last girly sleep-over.
We gently filed the finger nails that your cancer had force fed into talons
then painted them a defiant purple.
Suddenly yu awoke in a fight or flight panic.
I held you up on your feet, with your head on my shoulder.
Together we swayed and quietly giggled
until fatigue stole you from my arms and life.
I kept my promises to wear red at your funeral
and read your favourite poem.
Your oldest girlfriends sobbed their identities
from their safer hiding places on the back row.
I can now forgive our selfish reluctance
to accept your dying as well as you did.
Slowly we have learned to enjoy
every dance as if it were our last.
"Lynne was my friend, a work colleague, a substitute big sister, a piss-pot, smoking party girl who loved to dance. As a diplomatic pragmatic survivor in life she retrained as a social worker and became an advocate for the Hospice movement and end of life care. Lynne would have loved Antonia's work and would have dragged us all to see her"
It is the force of creative work like this that makes sense of our bereavements and losses. Lynne died in 2004, and still she lives on in this wonderful poetry. I thank both Maddy and Alastair for their contributions.
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