Author: Jane Clarke

This poem is about my neighbour Kathleen who was a pied piper for animals. It seemed both appropriate and magical that an animal saluted her departure from this world in May 2006.

It was the kind of day you loved.
Your forget-me-nots and marigolds
glowed blue and saffron in early summer sun.
A soft breeze set the white blossoms,
of the hawthorn by your cottage door,
floating like snowflakes.

Your ducks waited by the stream.
The donkey roared for his wisp of hay.
Next door’s cat looked for her dish of milk
from your hands,
calloused by picking potatoes
and turnips for a day’s pay.

The plain church overflowed.
A white collie threaded her way
through your neighbours,
stepped up to the balcony,
looked down at your coffin and barked,
just the once.