Poem by Christine Webb

As Read at Memorial Service, February 15, 2000

Slipping Away

Slipping one morning so uncharacteristically
Away, you left without explanation, nor -
Stranger still - have sent any word, not even a
Sardonic comment on what you found there (wherever
That is).  Where is your laugh? the calling
Horn of your voice?

And where, now, can we find you? I've looked
Everywhere.  The garden is empty except of
Snowdrops (you planted them) and in the kitchen
Stand bowls and cups you made, but aren't using
Today, again.  Your books lean together, or open
At poetry that I've not heard you quote
For days.  And you haven't hidden mischievously
In the wardrobe, though it trails your glowing
Rusts and oranges from swinging hangers.

At night I see you disjointedly in strange 
Houses or streets, only in the morning
Returning to absence.  You haven't spoken now
For over a week.  I keep expecting to see
Your prow of a nose forging through the winter
Air, to put my arms round your frailness and
Then be startled by the sharp relish of
Your latest saying. 
                                  But you've found
A new way to surprise me.