One of your hairs fell out last night:
A piece of your life was gone without a sound.
I know a difficult day is coming,
My heart, pierced, utters a quiet cry.
Let my childhood smile againin the sun
And turn me into an innocent little headlouse
So I can crawl through the jungle of your hair
And sing a song of darkness in its fragrance.
Under your fingernail-roof Ill sleep in my house;
In my black dream Ill water your black trees.
Ill pick black fruits, and hair-jungle bees
Will bring me black poems to be opened.
How will I live, without your hair?
How will I breathe, without its fragrance?
How will I survive, when I am discovered
By ghosts of wooden combs combing your hair?
Let me wear shows made of dawn-flowers
And crawl without a sound into your sleep.
Ill take the place of the hair thats gone
And sing of hair-clouds flying from night to day.
(By Nguyen Quang Thieu)
My mother on her sickbed with the lightness
and hollowness of a person
Who has already said goodbye at an airport
In the beautiful and quiet area
Between parting and takeoff.
My mother on her sickbed.
All she had in her life is now
Like empty bottles in front of the door
That will show once more with colored labels
What filled them with joy and sadness.
Her last words, Take the flowers out of the room,
She said seven days before her death,
Then she closed herself for seven days,
Like the seven days of mourning.
But even her death created in her room
A warm hominess
With her sleeping face and the cup with its teaspoon
And the towel and the book and the glasses,
And her hand on the blanket, the same
hand that felt my forehead, in childhood.
(By Yehuda Amichai)
Though my mother was already two years dead
Dad kept her slippers warming by the gas,
put hot water bottles her side of the bed
and still went to renew her transport pass.
You couldn’t just drop in. You had to phone.
He’d put you off an hour to give him time
to clear away her things and look alone
as though his still raw love were such a crime.
He couldn’t risk my blight of disbelief
though sure that very soon he’d hear her key
scrape in the rusted lock and end his grief.
He knew she’d just popped out to get the tea.
I believe life ends with death, and that is all.
You haven’t both gone shopping; just the same,
in my new black leather phone book there’s your name
and the disconnected number I still call.
(By Tony Harrison)