He came down

Our daughter Eleanor died 21st April of this year.

Me:

“My colleague who has brittle bones tells me she’s

Broken her ankle turning over in sleep. Back

From Casualty she says it hurts; I guess it does, remembering

I heard my friend’s forearm crack

On the football pitch. It’s not a great day for being on earth:

In this leafy village the trees are thrashed

By a whipping wind which drives the rainflow

Horizontally past the window. It smashed

My neighbour’s clothes-pole through her yard-light.

I give thanks for a dry house, thinking

Of those who don’t have one, especially the toothless

Big Issue sellar at M&S in his minking

Jacket: how would the body sustain itself, how

Would the mind endure? The one

Human being ever to choose this life was Jesus,

Said by the Nicene Creed to have come

Down from his life with God, and been made flesh.

All the rest of us are here willy-nilly

Including you, my dear, who had your own exposure

To the worst the world can do. Chilly

Wet days you could handle like a hero, but nights of

Being battered, morning bailiffs at the door,

Vodka weekends, hospital fortnights, and years

Of osteoporosis being sore-

How did you keep going? Now again lovely,

Tears wiped away, you come to tell me

He came down so that you could rise up merrily

With all the disregarded ones whose bellies

Were never filled. Now, as I read how the U.S. cops

Shot an unarmed black man in the back,

Teach me, lady, to live with grace and patience

Till I am given what I lack.”

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