Ever squeamish I’ve stepped outside my comfort zone,
beyond the relief we have to feel. The end of pain.
Her long life, lived full. But this day, this ritual is my first.
No body. No fuss. An empty box. We remember,
without her, the way she folded, blended, welcomed,
warmed all visitors, from kin to friends to passing strays.
Alert, bright-eyed bird, maker of Welsh cakes, her kettle
always just off boil, her teapot cosied, ready. Hazel,
named for the tree, laden with the silent wisdom
of a thousand casual confidences, wearing her prescience
lightly, easy as dust, as flour. No flowers to coat this truth:
she has flown. What’s left will now be shared, studied,
dissected, giving to science, as she gave in life.
We’ll dwell instead on fragments – on linen pressed
ready for those guests expected, and as yet unknown,
on fresh bread doorsteps sliced, on endless baking,
on days spliced with old observance, throwing salt,
curtseys to a lone magpie, A wooden spoon,
a hazel wand, her span of kitchen kindnesses,