Resurrection, Wigton

Helen Farish

Michelangelo requested that his body be buried in Santa Croce so that on Judgement Day the first thing he'd see would be Brunelleschi's cathedral dome.

I'd be under the Keswick apple tree
not far from the daffodils
which every spring spell ANNE.

Dad cutting the grass
would be the first thing I'd see.
Don't die again, the first thing I'd say.

Somehow it became everything —
the cobble stone house, the barn,
the ghyll view, the Pennines deciding

on their daily shade of blue, clothes drying
in winds which had names, and the sycamores
I called Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

And each day we laid innocently
on top of the last dug our names deeper.
Spring will always bring them back

in the distance between the Keswick apple
and the back door, the slight incline,
the bramleys, the old swing swinging

as though I'd just jumped off,
aged ten, my whole life
behind me.

Helen Farish

Helen Farish's first collection was Intimates (Cape, 2005). It was followed in 2012 by Nocturnes at Nohant: The Decade of Chopin and Sand, published by Bloodaxe.

Her awards include the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. She has also been short-listed for the T S Eliot Prize. In 2004 she began a year's residency at The Wordsworth Trust. Having gained a PhD on the subject of gender and poetry, she subsequently took up lectureships at Sheffield Hallam University and Lancaster University where she taught both literature and creative writing. She is now freelance and lives in Cumbria.

'Resurrection, Wigton' was first published in the Oxford Magazine. Helen is finalising her next collection, poems from which appear in the current edition of Poetry Review (Winter 2014), and are forthcoming in the London Review of Books.

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Resurrection, Wigton © 2015 Helen Farish: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.