Debussy’s “Girl with the Flaxen Hair” –
her mid-length bob tucked behind one ear
as she softly played piano.
She was the scent of new-mown grass,
of heady, binding jasmine, mingling
with the hint of apple-wood, drifting
from some far-distant bonfire.
She was a sapphire-winged mayfly,
drawn to mossy yellow fountain
on orange-red brick wall, where water
trickled from the jaws of an alabaster lion’s head
where lichen abounded.
She was her cushions, blue and green that lined
the bench where she sat and dozed, as lilies
hid their faces from the glare of noonday sun.
She was the Californian lilac, sweeping low,
with its bounty of vermilion and mazarine blue.
She was her cat, called Eddy, and the sweet
heady perfume of gardenia in its terracotta pot.
It is only now, as she sleeps beneath a Tuscan
olive tree, I realise that she was more, much more
than these. Like nothing else, she was.