Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Rik George writes

First Funeral

We commonly visited our dead in May 

We brought them irises from our garden. 
We told them family news, then left 
to let them lie for another year. 
That March the sun was thin as water. 
Stale snow lurked in shady places. 
Carpet green as Christmas wrapping 
covered the brittle winter grass. 
Hothouse flowers covered her coffin 
balanced above the open grave. 
The preacher droned his graveside words. 
I squeezed my tears under my eyelids. 
We left her in the March graveyard 
waiting for May and an iris bouquet.

The Death of Albine, by John Coliier (Oil on canvas, 137.2 x 182.9 cm. (c) Glasgow Museums; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation).
The Death of Albine -- John Collier

1 comment:

  1. Emile Zola's 1875 novel "La Faute de l'Abbé Mouret" (Abbé Mouret's Transgression," but also published as "The Sinful Priest" and "The Sin of Father Mouret") concerned an innocent young girl named Albine and her love for a young man who has lost his memory. After he recovered his memory he forsook her. She plucked the flowers from the garden where they made love and made them into her death bed. (The painting that the novel inspired was done by John Collier in 1895: In 1879 he married Thomas Henry Huxley's daughter Marian; after her death in 1887 he wanted to marry her sister Ethel, but such an action was illegal until the Deceased Wife's Sister's Marriage Act of 1907; they married in Norway ion 1889, and their on became the UK's ambassador to that country during World War II.)


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