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Pete's Ashes Came Home Yesterday


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Dear friends

The funeral director brought me Pete's ashes yesterday. I was inspired this morning to add to his poem on our dressing table. I haven't changed anything. It just came out easily. I am quite happy with it (well happy isn't the word but you know ...)

Here it is:-

The Dressing Table

I got to looking at this dressing table,

the one we share, my wife and I,

plain white painted wood with a backing mirror,

she has the right side, I have the left.

Between in no man’s land presides

a large moon-faced Akuaba, mother goddess

of Ghana, whose tranquil gaze takes in

impassively three family photographs—

two nieces and a son and daughter.

Just now, my side is cluttered and untidy,

I admit. Some things are always there,

my mother’s crystal ball in which

I’ve never seen the future, or anything at all,

the wooden inlaid Indian box for polished stones

and pendants, the Polish leather pencil case

from Zakopanie, a wallet with my banker’s card

and sundry papers, all these I keep upon my side

and would expect to find them there,

but all these other things—a tennis ball,

a plastic can of cashew nuts, “More Poetry Please”,

a pack of pancreatic enzymes for the stomach

(three times a day with food) ,

an “England’s Glory” box of matches,

a notebook, spiral bound, the pages

filled with useful phrases in Tigrinya,

and so it goes—a five-pence piece,

a lens, a box for holding moths without a lid,

a trading card from Carol Nashe promoting

best deals in motorbike insurance,

a pile of coppers emptied from my trouser pockets every night,

a two-pin plug for continental sockets,

a tape cassette, a Royal Navy seaman’s knife,

a tattered clipboard and two AA batteries, now spent.

My wife’s side seems by contrast almost bare,

a box for jewellery on which there sits

a leather purse that holds an antique cameo brooch;

it shows a lady in a dress beneath a tree

beside a hunting dog and what appears to be

a goat—it was my grandmother’s once, I think.

Next to it is a plastic stand on which like Noah’s ark,

two by two, neat pairs of earrings hang,

half-moons and moondrops, clear stones,

galactic spirals, silver ankhs and flowers,

two cats and a pair of silver hares. Not much besides,

just a long-tailed comb and a fluff of cotton wool,

a pebble picked up from the beach, now dull,

a small shell, and a length of folded string.

Tomorrow I have resolved to put my side in order.

Written in 2005 by Pete Crowther

The Dressing Table revisited

And now the left hand side has all been cleared

A pewter tray with spirals takes the place

Of all the daily items you put down.

And on the tray there rests a pewter urn.

Within that urn your ashes, there to stay

Until my death my darling, when we'll share

Some other urn when we will intermix.

We'll both be scattered in the estuary.

Before that time I'll have you here with me.

I'll talk to you and share my time with you.

Please stay with me if only in my dreams.

We'll light our candles, share our ceremonies,

Just like we did when you were here with me

In body. Please don't go too far away

Until the day we can be reunited.

Jan Crowther September 2012

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Dear friends

The funeral director brought me Pete's ashes yesterday. I was inspired this morning to add to his poem on our dressing table. I haven't changed anything. It just came out easily. I am quite happy with it (well happy isn't the word but you know ...)

Here it is:-

Hello Jan,

Inspiring dear girl. Something I can meditate on. You were so in my thoughts yesterday. More words later. Anne

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Jan, beautiful. Very lovely. My Mike's ashes rest in a red rock urn from Arizona, on the bookcase in the living room. Someday we will be mixed together and buried beside my baby who died 40 years ago.

Mary (Queeniemary) in Arkansas

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Beautifully put, Jan. I still have some of George's personal belongings in my bedroom...he had a myrtle-wood tiered tray he kept things like pictures, knife, keys, watch, etc. in. They are still there, the things I haven't had the heart to remove. Like he'll pop in and throw some things into it. Ahh well, someday...

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Thanks for positive comments. I read it out loud to him and it made me cry but it felt right. I am pleased I did this. It's what he would want. I knw that. And our daughter dreamed of him last night. He sat on the other side of the table from me and we held hands. I like to think he was communicating though her dream. Maybe?

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JanC,

This is indeed a comfort and becoming more common, Ruth's cremains are on a shrine I have in my living room, and my new Love Brenda has her husband's cremains on her dresser. We all must do what is most comforting for us during this most "trying time".

I really like your poem and seems so perfect.

NATS

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