Now he is old, he is close to death.
In the rapt silence of night,
alert as a fox
to the murmuring stirs of the house,
his bed no longer warmed
by his wife,
he thinks of the time
when he was most alive
but at once so dead.
Spring is a time for the Lamb:
the land is abuzz: grass senses
the milder air, and all is a slow
heaving from sleep to joyful labour.
The Lamb cares not for the Wolf:
She is busy watching her Babes,
the uterine white of the Ewe;
and the Ram is as proud as punches
watching his first-born stand.
But sickly bleats the last-born;
the song of the Wolf's fast, shorn.
So Spring is also the time of the Wolf:
an eye bright, blue to the opalescent Moon,
red as it beams to the blood
of the kill.
It stalks the land, stealthily as death,
and its snap of jaw as eternal
as the wrenching night's maw.
The Wolf bays at the Moon,
begging forgiveness of it.
The Moon is still, silent:
the Wolf, forgiven, joins the pack;
between pasture and mountain,
the darkling stack.
Stories are wondrous things:
the old man tells them to himself,
making sense of his hardships,
all of them docked.
But how to tell this one?
He is close now, he knows it:
he is alone no longer in his room.
The curtains billow coolly
and his mind conjures what he'd
his wife had been sick when she broke
and spilled her waters;
the doctors had not known:
the baby was a stone, and
two pounds underweight.
It was born, still as night, and
on the other side it awoke.
They cradled it; grave and heavy
was the silence,
an overflowing groan.
And now, near death, he knows
why it crept and hid:
the revelation lives as his child, so close now,
it soaks him in a knowing:
he only knew that life in death, and so
in death he greets that life:
a child's hand in his, soft and losing warmth.
After years of mourning, he realises
the Living are ghosts:
they haunt the Late.
He closes his eyes,
then he latches