52 Chapters
Medium 9781847772381

Swings

Rebecca Goss Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
Medium 9781847772381

Clinic

Rebecca Goss Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
Medium 9781847772381

Toast

Rebecca Goss Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
Medium 9781847772381

Bench

Rebecca Goss Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
Medium 9781847772381

In Memory of John Ernest Goss 1920–2011

Rebecca Goss Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

In Memory of John Ernest Goss 1920–2011

I want to be cremated and my ashes thrown in the air. Straight from the flames to the winds, and let that be that.

– the closing lines of Akenfield, by Ronald Blythe

As you wobble the length of our hall, hand fiercely tight in mine, your great-grandfather is letting go.

His seven stones of bone barely dent the bed. His lips kept wet by a nurse’s sponge, his hand held warm by his son.

I consider the efforts of your respective breaths – his faint, yours eager – as you pad small steps, adopt a penguin’s gait. Between you, a gap of ninety years, storing its wars and discoveries, far reaching as the moon he lived beneath. In the little arable kingdom he chose for home, he married, raised a boy in sunken lanes; stayed rooted in its loamy soils, grew as ancient as its woods.

You pick up pace and race towards the mirror. If there was time, this news of your early steps would be recorded, folded, delivered overnight. Hand-written word from his kin, he loved the language of lives elsewhere. He has a wish to star the air on a stretch of Suffolk coast and we will take him, in the throng of family he has sprung. For now, I watch you in the glass, behind us see the hall, the pram, how far we’ve come.

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