The Eraser

Our daughter Eleanor died on 21st April of this year.


I’ll explain the title in a minute but right now my mind is taken over
With memories of A.A meetings where in order to recover
My sobriety, I was urged to begin my new life by surrendering
My identity, my alcoholic pride, my ego; to cease pretending
That I was in control, and entrust my future to a Higher Power
Mediated through the Meeting and its programme. God
Forgive me, I refused, because while recognising the broad
Humanity of the programme and its people, I’d been educated
By violence never to surrender my inner self , and in truth I hated
The new person they wanted me to be. I hadn’t fought like a savage
Just to become a sober, decent citizen, but imagined a self more lavish
In its pleasures and commitments. Some of this was my addiction

Now here I am in a place where divine friction
Is erasing me. It is a vast cirque of maybe limestone such as
I’ve seen in photos of the Picos de Europa, by the soft touches
Of water, wind and ice worked into the shapes they are now
Which will be obliterated day by day until they bow
To necessity and are gone. It is like a speeded up video
In which I too am impacted by forces that rid me of
Whole bits of myself. See, my feet dissolve into the alpine
Flower I bent to examine. I feel my new roots. My spine
Is wrenched and straightened in a tower of rock. My arms
Are feathered in the slow beat of the vulture’s wings. Alarm
Shoots through me, not at the changes, but at my own desire
To be changed, to let go, to breathe myself away, expire
Into the blessed community of creatures. I am afraid no longer
Of being handed a fixed identity like a transferred footballer
In a new shirt, but hopeful for the unique love that is myself
To share the love of every thing and person in the commonwealth
Of heaven. This is process, not completion, but I hope to see
Its end. Let my life be yours, I pray, but let it still be me.

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