Monday 23 May 2011

Edward Bear

Church bells and birdsong
fill the air

I am slicing mangoes,
waiting for someone

I am waiting for words
to come;

I am waiting for sadness
to fall away
like red rose petals
in the hot bright sun.

I am feeding the birds
So more will come.

Something is moving
in the high birch tree
Where light and shadow meet

Someone is speaking to me.

I listen, carefully –

“I am always here,”
says that voice to me.

And to the quiet place
where the silence will be,

“Good night, good night,
As sweet repose and rest,
Come to thy heart,
As that within my breast.”

It was Dr Dawn Owen's funeral today, and I recited this poem, and gave a little speech to the gathering about how much Dad used to tease her. Sometimes, while reading an article from the newspaper, she would stop, look up over her spectacles and suddenly say, "This chap is twittering on. Shall I continue, or move on?"
"Ride on!" father would say, or more succinctly, "Next!"

She was his reader for five years. He misses her. "The newspapers are piling up!" he warned, as she lay in hospital. "Bully," she responded.

Her brother James gave the most gloriously moving rendition of Chopin's Raindrop, Prelude 15. And then later, in the Church hall, several of her illustrations and books on parasitology were displayed. Most significant among them, was a paper she delivered titled 'Some observations on the disease of Brunus edwardii (species nova)': a serious paper delivered at a conference discussing the traumatic physical and emotional conditions suffered by the species Brunus edwardii, otherwise known as Edward Bear (more commonly known as teddy bear). Here is a sample:

Case 3: A 10 year old bear, which had been owned successively by three siblings. The normal yellow coat colour had changed to a dirty grey, there was extensive alopecia which had progressed to "threadbearness" over the ears, nose and limb extremities... Old age and persistent handling with transport by one limb were the main reasons for the chronic debility, for which there is no satisfactory treatment.

The parasitologists and zoologists present at the conference listened intently, nodding cleverly, until the bright shiny pebble dropped. They'd been had! 

She received a standing ovation.



Sherry Blue Sky said...

I love this story, Shaista, and Dr Dawn's clever joke at her colleague's expense. I love the voice that said "I am always here". It seems you have been laying friends to rest a few times this spring, which does bring sadness - I love the humor and joy in the stories of your remembering. She sounds lovely. Keep feeding the birds, and listening to their song. And remember, you have a Talmud angel across the pond!:)

Jeanne-ming Brantingham said...

Sorry for all this loss in your family of late. But th epoem is wonderful.
I wonder who now reads to your Papa?

But Dr. Dawn's Edward Bear syndrom is priceless! She describes my life at Bunnies.

Ruth said...

Your poem, the bird, your friend, your dad, these elements float and lie on my heart like feathers, like that little bird, so delicate and serious, yet light in every sense.

What a story, a precious memory to hold and caress, the way we would a teddy bear. Some things grow more valuable the more worn they are, such as Persian carpets.

kelvin s.m. said...

Shaista, o those lines you weaved here volumes to me deeply. My sincere condolences for the loss.


Elizabeth Mueller said...

Shaista, lovely words of the heart. I'm sorry for your loss. *hugs* You and your family will be in my prayers.

Can Alex save Winter from the darkness that hunts her?
YA Paranormal Romance, Darkspell coming fall of 2011!

* said...

I love your poem, and mourn the passing of Dr Dawn Owen with you. To have such a warm and wonderful reader, friend (and doctor!) for so many years, your dad and family, I imagine, count yourselves blessed.

Now for the teddy bear, such an awful case, I think I have one of those around here, too...


Teri said...

This is wonderful! Your tribute, the poem, the story about Dawn and her paper. What a great way to honor someone's life. You really have a way with words.

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