Michael’s poem, Funeral Kiss, appears in The Book of Love and Loss
There are numerous readings and ‘launches’ of this book happening in late 2014-2015 – watch out for them.
A custom, I thought, more honoured
in the breach than in the observance.
A custom for Russian presidents lying in state.
A custom for the bones of the beatified
whose very deadness might spark some life.
I wanted to isolate you in the privacy
of death and said No to Mrs Taetz,
our children’s carer, who asked to pay her respects
and No to Les Corness who asked
if he could take photographs of you dead.
I viewed you but didn’t want to kiss you.
I didn’t want to feel the Ding an sich of death
as if that final funeral kiss
might undo all those other kisses:
before, during, after, first, best.
And yet now I feel I should have kissed you,
a tiny peck perhaps, a tiny brush with death
to show I was your brave boy grown into a man.