By the time his friends had gathered
round, he'd already gone:
eyelids shut, no longer those small
myopic eyes behind thick lenses.
Nor the agile eloquence of tumbling
words, mouth and nostrils sealed
with cotton wads and silence.
On the way from the chapel to the grave
cremation would be better someone said.
For whom? Certainly for us:
freed thus from the bitter moment
the ache in the chest the knot in the throat.
Better a farewell glance
without that painful image of ruin
that threatening knife at one's back.
But as for the dead one, what would suit him better:
to be undone in an instant in the furnace
or slowly share in springtime
wrapped in endless roots
giving nourishment to our minute brothers in the dark?
A decision made in life, nothing but
a blind, impulsive choice.
In the impenetrable realm of mystery
who, in the end, knows best.