Touch: The Journal of Healing


Alfred II

    by Murray Alfredson

No way I’d call it tragedy,

his death; for full-ripe were his years

at ninety two, and rich his life,

a humble man and no high-flyer

yet learned in his way and wise

knower of plants and animals,

a gardener, a sanctuary.

A one-eyed magpie found refuge

in his garden safe from owls within

the barricade of fig-tree branches

and amply fed by worm-rich soil.

He was no knowledge-hoarder; ever

a teacher he shared with all who asked

or showed an interest; never a pusher,

folk soon enough discovered him.

And every time I need to know

a plant or how to raise one, I feel

the gap my father stepped from

so quietly in the early hours

when none of us expected, leaving

a hole that never quite has closed.

Yet often in my quieter moods

his face appears, his lifting eyebrows.

I’ve no idea how many lives

he touched, but hundreds packed his church,

sang lustily his funeral hymns.

© 2010 Murray Alfredson

Murray Alfredson has worked as a librarian, lecturer and in Buddhist chaplaincy. He is a prize-winning poet, has published essays and poems in Australia, England, and America, and a collection, ‘Nectar and light’, in Friendly Street new poets, 12, Adelaide: Friendly Street Poets and Wakefield Press, 2007.


Copyright © 2010

Touch: The Journal of Healing

All rights reserved.