About the Poem
About the poet
Born in The Netherlands, Riemke Ensing moved to New Zealand in 1951. A distinguished poet,...
Mother did not leave
instantly. People say souls are in a hurry
to depart. They want to be free
they say, thinking of themselves.
She liked it here, anchored
still as a boat moored in safe haven. Her house
her content. The sun on her chair with a view.
Every morning a garden.
Light and sky stretching their arms
in pleased embrace. Birds talked
and stories spilled into day from long remembering.
There was no rush to go. The more space
you have the freer you are.
For days she remained
at peace, sleeping the smile of memories.
Then ice crept in despite of summer,
froze over features of landscape
known since first touch of consciousness
and we knew she was gone.
‘Life’, from Talking Pictures: Selected Poems (HeadworX, 2000), © Riemke Ensing 2000, used by permission of the author. Recording from the Aotearoa New Zealand Poetry Sound Archive 2004.