for Aileen Grant (1.6.1937 -29.8.2009)
Someone dies and the world wobbles:
earthquakes and tsunamis for a husband, daughters;
and though the passing of a student is a smaller loss
the centre of gravity shifts a little in my life, too.
The night before your funeral my teaching is listless,
your absence felt as ballast overboard,
I’ve become used to your eccentric sweet intensity
pulling against the direction of the other students,
apologetically stubborn, heroically persistent.
Finding my way through generations of stories,
drifts of photocopying only you could treasure
and your perpetually erratic toolkit
distilled a bodhisattva spirit into my teaching.
You educated me in compassion,
better than I ever schooled you in making books.