Last Rite, By Mary Gurr

This poem, by Society member, local artist and writer Mary Gurr, was selected for the Society’s Folio #73 in 2019.

Last Rite

She was lying on her side today
when I arrived. She moved a little

when I held some lilac blossom,
dewy from the garden to her cheek,

again when I described the others
I had brought, beech, hawthorn, camellia,

picked that day and scented to engulf
the rising scent of dying –

I put them in a vase beside her bed
and sat a while, eighty-six years

and now she’s nearly there,
a silent remnant of herself

waiting. I was thinking of the time
when I was small she showed me

how to take a photograph. We
went into the garden, glorious

rhododendrons billowing
and she was beaming, eyes, smile

her perfect toothpaste teeth,
waiting for the click – Yes,

she shouted, as I brought the shutter
firmly down, Yes!

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