Carol Ann Duffy, Great Britain’s poet laureate, wrote about her father’s death in the poem “Pathway“:
….[W]here he walked,
the garden lengthened
to a changing mile
which held all seasons of the year.
He did not see me, staring from my window,
a child’s star face, hurt light from stricken time,
and he had treaded spring and summer
grasses before I thought to stir, follow him.
Autumn’s cathedral, open to the weather, rose
high above, flawed amber, gorgeous ruin; his shadow
stretched before me, cappa magna,
my own, obedient, trailed like a nun.
He did not turn. I heard the rosaries of birds.
The trees, huge doors, swung open and I knelt….
Duffy lost her father the same year my husband died, and ends her poem with the moon’s distant, gentle light: “a simple headstone without words.”
Not there to see constellations spell themselves on the sky
and black rhyme with white
or there to see petals fold on a rose like a kiss
on midsummer night.