My Mum died this week, after a gruelling illness. Today I post in honour of her: Christine Crispin, an extraordinary woman. She did all sorts of remarkable things. She was in life’s plus column.
Amongst her many achievements was being my Dad’s sole carer over the decades of his long illness. I wrote this for her a few months ago, and she liked it. I was glad.
canticle: on the beauty of my mother’s knees
On that age-soft skin, here and there broken
with filigree of spider-veins, dark bruise-
like patches at the knee tell how you used
your years: all those days when you would waken
and kneel to coax socks over feet swollen
with fluid, point them through leg-holes in pants
and trousers, tie laces, fit wheelchair flaps,
retrieve dropped things: do it all. Not stolen
by time, then, but transfigured, your beauty
sings of the love you gave, and what it cost:
how life became strange and hard; how you lost
sight of something, sometimes, under duty
fierce, unrelenting; and how love will insist
on asking everything; and will persist.