Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Friends Far Away Die

by Janet Frame

Friends far away die
friends measured always in blocks of distance
cement of love between
porous to tears and ocean spray
how vast the Pacific!
How heavy the unmiracled distance to walk upon,
a slowly sinking dream, a memory undersea.

Untouched now, Sue, by storm
easy to reach
an angel-moment away,
hostess of memories in your long green gown, your small blue
slippers lying on the white sofa
in the room I once knew — the tall plants behind you —
I remember I watered them and found some were fake
and I shrugged, thinking it’s part of life

to feed the falseness, the artificial, but no, you fed only truth
you cut down every growing pretence with one cool glance.
We were at home with you.
We knew, as people say, where we stood.
Your beloved John of the real skin and uncopied eyes was anxious for you
in true anxiety.

Well, you will visit me in moments.
You will be perplexed yet wise, as usual.
Perhaps we will drink won ton soup.
I promise you, no food will hurt you now.

Listen to Janet Frame reading this poem at:
NZ Electronic Poetry Centre

'Friends Far Away Die' was published in The Goose Bath (Random House NZ and Wilkins Farago Australia) and in Storms Will Tell (Bloodaxe Books)

(c) Janet Frame 2002
All Rights Reserved

[Posted today in fond memory of the legendary and much loved New Zealand children's author Margaret Mahy who died yesterday in Christchurch aged 76]

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