Air currents (prevailing winds)

May have carried their ashes

Perhaps as far as England

So that Mister Brown’s roses or

Mrs.  Jones’ vegetable garden near

Swansea might well have been quickened

By a butcher named Moshe or

A   virginal young bride.


Who knows if perhaps some organic matter

Got into the sea and ended up here

In this city and helped the growth of greenery

On Table Mountain, Nature

Can do such things – the carbon

In our bodies, comes after all

From the far-distant stars.


Cruel six million

Coolly awaiting the resurrection

(Rambam’s thirteenth principal!)

Of the dead – your mixing

With the ecosystem seems in some way

Grace, nature

Humanized, as it were.


So this new consciousness

Could well be your work

(No pathetic fallacy here!)

Nature no longer merely raped

But consulted, loved, husbanded

Man tenant never owner

(Guarding the garden)

As Jews were in the land.


You have become a memorial

Rather than a memory:  yet knowing this

How can we not remember?  You

Could be ghostly in birdsong

Visible in the rose;

After you we need to pay attention

After you landscape has a face.


Abe Casper  2011


About abecasper

Abe Casper is a South African author, poet, lecturer and translator. 1970-74: B.A. U.C.T. Majored in English and Philosophy. Abe is bilingual in English, French also speaks and writes Italian and lives in Cape Town. Read more on
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