Neil Coppen

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That it should come

November18

Four years you sat in mom’s closet.
Behind the birthday soaps, hand creams and Christmas-card packs.

In a closet
In a packet
In a box with plastic engraving on the outside.

So tightly sealed that when it came to the hour
of your belated release
you would not budge.

So Vaughn and I marched to the garden- shed
in search of a tool box
Along the way
jokes about what a tenacious old- gal you were
How we were now going to need a crow-bar to wrestle you out.

A screw-driver proved sufficient.

In silence
I set eyes upon the saw-dust and silt.
of you
The remains
from the flames
of you

bone and body reduced
to this
that it should come to

I did not know how to go about it
No one did
Suggested putting you it in a bowl
passing it around (as one might do a plate of crisps at a cocktail party)
So each could take a handful and toss tearfully to the wind

A suggestion too macabre for some
most
too afraid to touch the remains
to brush burnt bones between finger-tips
like kissing the lips of the dead
goodbye.

Ash, no more icky
I said, having my say
than handling the burnt- lawn -aftermath of a Sunday braai.

till it was agreed to tip you into the flower-pot

Out you tumbled
in a heavy silver-stream
Leaving the Frangipanies
Trembling ashen gray

While miss Holiday, miss Billy
sang
the resurrection.

posted under musings, poetry
One Comment to

“That it should come”

  1. On November 30th, 2008 at 5:25 pm Clare Manning Says:

    Dear Neil,

    Please excuse this email being somewhat out of the blue. I stumbled apon your website by pure chance, after asking myself “where have I heard this name before? Then to my suprise, you should pop up again in the sunday times wih the article ” Unleash the advertising beast” which I found fantastic!
    A brief intro as to why I found it fantastic, is because I have been going on the most intense interviews in this last month, and all advertising agencies. I have had to sit in front of Managing Directors practically selling my soul as to what makes me tick about advertising, why is it so important and how am I gonna make a difference. Long story short, its all a lot of bull, but we lap it up like little lap dogs. Where can you go to get away from the monstrous advertising juggernaut? Somewhere green, with no phones, no tv, no radio… a bed, a fridge, a fire place and thats it… Let’s us go back to the bush!

    Then your poem “That it should come”
    I type this email where once again I have been struck by brutal coincidence. My mom passed away 4 months ago and we are about to embark on scattering her ashes, we have found her place… but indeed the little wooden box is sealed tight and has to be forced open.
    I am sorry for your loss, if it is your mother, sister, cousin, whoever… death is strange, but peaceful at the same time.

    Drop me line if you would like to respond.

    Clare Manning
    0729889734

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