Monday 24 May 2021


After many bends in the road, some looked for, some hated (war), some simply endured, we laid our beloved Mary to rest beside her husband John in St Mary's Church, down the road from where Mary and John spent most of their married life. 

Mary was born June 11, 1916 and died on the 15th of December, 2020, and I have been not at all impatient to say formal goodbyes. I liked pretending that Mary had gone quiet in the room next door, quiet but for her piano, fingers practising her favourite pieces of Beethoven or reading Barbara Pym, her always comfort read. When I'd ask Mary what she was reading, she'd sometimes say, 'Oh it's not for you. It's too old-fashioned.' But occasionally she would want to share the 'not for me' books anyway, and my collection now includes some of her favourites from Kathleen Raine to Gervase Phinn.

In the end, there was nothing formal about it, and nor was there any goodbye. Just four poems, among them this one by me, a blackbird singing, and school children laughing next door. The trill of birds, the peals of laughter and her parents’ shared gravestone watching over a marriage blessed, in life and death.

Mary's hands. Mary's voice on the telephone. Mary saying 'darling' or even just my name, 'Oh Shaista...' These I hope never to forget. May I recall them a hundred years from now. 


Sherry Blue Sky said...

I read your very moving poem. Oh, Shaista, how your words move me. Your life is indeed the richer for this lovely woman, life, couple....friendship. she was a blessing to those around her, I can tell.

Kriti said...

What a beautiful tribute, Shaista. I'm sorry for your loss, but I have a feeling her memory will remain loved and alive with you.

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