Friday 17 November 2023

The Search for Samarra


After reading Billy Collin's Reaper

I look up the meaning of Samarra

which takes me on a long Google search

through centuries and cultures and possibilities-

for it's a place, a mountain, a girl's name,

a garment worn by victims of the Inquisition, 

(I stall on that one)

the name of a novel based on a play by Somerset Maugham

(and here I hit the mark)

and finally arrive to where I knew I would end up-

(given Billy's allusions)

to an appointment with Death...

But while his response is to admire, while he can,

the red barns and green sloping fields

on his way to lunch at Racoon Lodge

my imagination takes a darker turn

or more specifically to the choice

(if I even have one)

between burial or cremation

perhaps favouring 

the slow process of decomposition

to the sudden shock of incineration

(in the hope that I won't notice it so much)

and that's when I recall 

Bob Hope's death bed directive to his wife

(according to Billy)*

when facing the same dilemma

asking her to "Surprise me"..

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

* See Cremation by Billy Collins in Whale Day published by Random House

See Link below to a blog for comments on Billy Collins and the poem Reaper

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