Double Rainbow from
She lay in end-stage coma,
making her passage from this world.
I sat with her, in quietness, for a time,
and then began to look
at the family photos on the wall:
of her, when she was young,
of her children and grandchildren
all the memories
down all the shambling years.
I reflected she once had had a home
full of things:
furniture, couches with doilies,
a heavy dining room table, assorted cutlery,
sets of matching china.
And now she had, on her nightstand,
a comb, a cardboard spittum cup, some moistened Q-tips:
the essentials. Not one thing more.
I wanted to give her something more
than just my presence so, after a time,
I opened The Leaf and the Cloud and read:
Think of me
when you see the evening star.
Think of me when you see the wren
the flowing root of the creek beneath him,
dark silver and cold
Remember me: I am the one who told you
that the grass is also alive, and listening.
As I read, the energy shifted
in the listening room,
and I felt that my gift had been
Out I went, through the silent halls,
lined with people in beds,
making their final solitary passage,
out into the lowering dusk
and the aliveness of all the trees.
Out I went, on my own two feet,
breathing without a machine,
On my right, arching above
the flowering Japanese maples,
was a double rainbow,
symbol of beauty and of hope,
and I went forward into my evening,
and full of blessings.
The Leaf and the Cloud is, of course, by Mary Oliver, my favorite poet.
I wrote this - belatedly - in response to Shay's Poem Within a Poem prompt at Real Toads.