On the day of the explosionShadows pointed towards the pithead.In the sun the slagheap slept.Down the lane came men in pitbootsCoughing oath-edged talk and pipe-smoke,Shouldering off the freshened silence.One chased after rabbits; lost them;Came back with a nest of lark's eggs;Showed them; lodged them in the grasses.So they passed in beards and moleskinsFathers brothers nicknames laughterThrough the tall gates standing open.At noon there came a tremor; cowsStopped chewing for a second; sunScarfed as in a heat-haze dimmed.The dead go on before us, theyAre sitting in God's house in comfort,We shall see them face to face--plain as lettering in the chapelsIt was said and for a secondWives saw men of the explosionLarger than in life they managed--Gold as on a coin or walkingSomehow from the sun towards themOne showing the eggs unbroken.
Dali’s fascination for the egg as metaphor for birth and growth and time came to mind as I reread Larkin’s deeply affecting poem The Explosion. And then Duffy, with her consummate awareness of remembrance as resurrection and proximity. I am sure there is much to be said about the connectedness of Larkin and Duffy; mourning does reconstitute our relationship to time. How we are gifted by those who gave us and can still give us soul time. Wordworth’s ‘life of things’.
‘You’ are everywhere and here. Yet not so. How can we preserve the presence of love after death? If I remember enough of you then you cannot be gone.So I build my memories carefully. We all have our favourite memories of those we care enough to remember and even those we do not. The careful, reanimating strokes of remembrance bring you back, Lazarus like, to the
moment when you speak like you always spoke.
A breath of words.
The Woman in Black
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