These poems were not written "in memoriam" but during the course of the friendship, and were published in Hothouse (2002/2006). I never thought to be posting them so long after, and in such circumstances. I just learnt that Mhairi passed away in the UK last month. She was a gifted poet as well as pianist, a film buff, and a savvy winner at all board games.
She was also a fluent speaker and avid reader of French, and a half-dozen of the best French novels I have on my shelf here at Jam Tree Gully were gifts from her, because she loved to give presents.
The first poem takes a line from a beautiful DH Lawrence poem, which ends "in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past".
Small walls and the furniture
too large, as in a dolls’ house,
or a Dutch interior
the swollen disproportions
of a dream;
a baby grand and you playing
Bach and Satie
as my grandmother played the Polonaises
and my mother the ‘Moonlight’ Sonata
suddenly the hunger
to pick it up again, dropped stitch,
to let fingers go as they know because
it was trained into me
or because I was born to it
and let it go, wasted and taken for granted
like water; this our idiom
I’ve abstained from
out of some foolish notion
of imperfection, forgetting the pure pleasure
the insidious mastery of song
that makes the child’s heart beat faster
as I stand there
wordless but listening
with my arms around her
in the chill spring.