I have become tidy
here in my late middle-age
(and when is that precisely?).
I wrote long ago that living alone
can be summed up by the good and bad
of everything being just where you put it.
But for the few days when the woman leaves,
before she comes back again, the slow sifting
of daily matter into nothingness is a welcome novelty.
The Welsh poet Dannie Abse and his wife (who he loved very much)
look up at me from the cover of a book sitting on the edge of the bath.
I cannot bear to move them.
They are both smiling in swimsuits
and have the kind of eyes that follow you all ways.
I take their presence as an encouragement.
A memento mori also of course but then,
when one looks for a minute with eyes open,
everything is or can be.
His wife Joan was killed in a car crash,
this was when they were both old.
A disaster yet more so for him.
He wrote another book after that
about living, but more about surviving
with her absent presence.
When your house is burning there are no clear thoughts
as regards the decision-tree of what to save.
It is all wood and on fire, however tidily.