Saturday, 26 January 2013

A Confessional Poem

Her name was Flo.
She died in October, 2010.
We worked together for five months,
and in that five months
I barely grew to know her.
But when I left for uni
she gave me a spider plant.

A ragged little thing, I barely knew
how to look after it,
and that Christmas
I went home for a month.
My housemate neglected it
through my own neglect
and when I came back
it was almost dead:
a spindling of brown shoots,
only hanging on through its roots.

I took it to my neighbour, The Healer,
and she showed me what to do:
it's pot-bound, she'd said,
and she took it from the pot,
de-clumped it, pulling the tangled roots apart.
It nearly broke my heart, the sight,
not knowing enough about growing.
She put the two in their own two pots,
sprinkled them with new soil,
fruits of the loam, and not the loom;
sowing, not sewing: the Sun, not the Moon.

And now, I still have that one original, 
that ember. That ember of Flo,
which I cannot let die. She was only forty,
but I won't pretend I cried
at the telephone call, or the thought of it all.

But now, I have eight plants:
I have given two away:
one to that neighbour, one
to a friend. And I cannot let it end.
I cannot let it end. I must let it flow.
I must let it go. I must see it grow.

The seeds we sow: we must scatter them so.
This one's for you, night-angel,
day-dreaming sun beam,
woman I never knew. This one's for Flo:
the seeds she planted, the things that grew.