MAG Poetry Competition 2011 – Shortlisted Poem
Throwing Apples At The Sky
We threw apples at the sky,
While your dad lay dying.
Bright red they flew in a fiery arc,
And we joked they’d reach the sun,
As he retreated breath by breath.
We climbed the sagging branches, laughing
With the burden of summers bounty,
As his body surrendered, spark by spark.
The sound of floating playground antics
Mingled with our playful cries,
As the fire in his veins was quenched.
And then the world continued just as before,
In the aftermath of that long brutal fight,
In the suddenly still quiet room,
His body became a husk
Emptied of its self,
Beached forever on the strand of time,
We looked out of the window,
Bittersweet memories in the winds eye,
Our windfall tears drying
Like a fading lullaby.
Relieved, but too guilty to rejoice,
I thought of the apple blossom,
And the curve of your ten summers,
Like a rainbow bisected
By the dark fire of his death.
Outside the birds still sang,
Skylarks hovered over the fields,
Hawks traversed on unseen currents.
His last breath filled the empty room,
Infusing us with pain and anguish,
As they carted his shell away.
We sauntered back to the hospice garden,
Kicking the rotten fallen fruit,
The rules of the game changed forever.