The afternoon is blowing out to sea
tossing in the tops outside
young ironbarks with their stiff grey leaves
a counterpoint for this concerto
Felix Mendelssohn (violin)
with all its infinite deferrals
as we sit scattered through the rows
family only nothing said
the stillness of the coffin there
the harmonies of strings and wind
the other sounds that float below them
the silence of our minds at work
the flowers up there along the polish
and ready for the fire
our rubbing certain words together
decent, caring, honest, loyal
that had this man to give them meaning
a man whose job for forty years
would make the wind grow less abrasive
less cloudy with his country's soil
a man who, putting garbage out,
looked straight into the stars
and saw them as they are not more
no template for a distant god
but just the shape that life assumes —
this coffin … then the fire.
The wind comes through an open door
and turns the curtains into sails.
Outside, that tossing of the leaves.
The Mendelssohn rides on in waves.