Wednesday 22 September 1999
I laid my father's body down in a narrow boat
and sent him off along the riverbank with its cattails and grasses.
And the boat - it was made of bark and wood bent when it was wet -
took him to his burial finally.
But a day or two later I realised it was my self I wanted
to lay down, hands crossed, eyes closed...
Oh, the light coming up from down there,
the sweet smell of the water - and finally, the sense of being carried
by a current I could not name or change.
From Marie Howe's second collection, `What the Living Do' (WW Norton, pounds 7.99)
And why are 'southern' ways of speaking spreading north?
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