Wednesday Poem: GONE by Blake Morrison

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You were always so slow to take your leave,

crumbs and tobacco dripping from your clothes

as you wheezed up from the depths of an armchair

like the sea-spilling, barnacled Mary Rose.

Cumuli of pipe-smoke would fill the porch

as you made heavy weather of your wellingtons

or fished in every pocket for a neckscarf,

fingering your toggles like precious stones.

And still the time to reach in that great chest

of yours for a word about the chances

of rain tonight, or to stand like a pillar

by the lawn-edge inhaling the crysanths.

Salt of the earth, monument to monuments,

who never hurried anywhere, except this once.

From Blake Morrison's `Selected Poems' (Granta, pounds 8.99)