A Ceremony of Ashes

A friend shared this poem with me that was given as a reading by her son when scattering her husbands ashes.  I think it’s beautiful.

A Ceremony of Ashes
By Edward Storey

The wind was blowing from north to south
to give your wings their eager lift
from man-made boundaries.
Clouds were the continents you crossed,
hills the last frontier of a life
to reconcile histories.
What joy, what freed exuberance
suddenly leapt from Offa’s,
creating stars from mortal ash.
You rode like a king on the ancient dyke
to be one with a day that soon unveiled
the landfall of your choice.
You became earth and fire and rain,
tree-root and leaf, sun-shaft and frost,
where miles can never pin you down.
Whoever walks this hallowed track
will, without knowing, always have
your wise and jovial company.

Just How?


How am I breathing, and fast
when I’ve seen you draw your last?
How am I standing tall,
when it’s all I can do, to not fall?
How are these cheeks dry
and breast and thigh, when heavy eyes just want to cry?
How am I not bruised and burned
as I’m disgraced that the world has turned?
How can I speak instead of ball
when it’s no longer your name I can call?
How can I hear
when I still hear your voice just like it’s near?
How do I not scream
when now I only get to see you in a dream?