This poem was written for Kevin shortly after his death. It is from a Summer Snow a collection published in 1990. Ruth clearly knew Kevin well.
(for Kevin Andrews)
I wanted one glass tonight
of champagne, to your swim.
For having known you. But you'd laugh -
- no drink here without food
between six and nine. And bring
curd cheese from neighbours round the corner,
salad picked on hills, island liquor
you weren't supposed to touch.
'Half a glass,' you'd say, an impatient
accurate centaur, forgetting your pills.
'You come so seldom.' Only you knew
the dark padding loneliness. Your rough links,
copper spots of warmth in winter,
weighting like Agamemnon's gold
neckbone I never felt outside your house:
I couldn't afford them. Only a bracelet, a ring.
You'd know what to do with a neolithic axe
but what happened when lightning struck?
Those fits: I'd sit near, uselessly gentle.
The blue hands on your wall, meant
to keep off the eye - maybe they worked.
Who knows what might have happened?
How else could you go? Burnt scrub
on exposed Cithaeron that Easter
crackled with gods. You said, 'I like that -
crackling with gods.' We're born
to such hopeless houses,
strangers to what we love.
You shared what helped. The I Ching.
Dowland on pie-crust records. (I sent more -
they melted and warped in the mail.)
Goat-pipes. All your presences were real:
tangerine smoulder on a tripod,
books and the wood that held them,
iron tools on the plank by the stove.
Each had its history and smell.
When your grandchild was born
you twisted a bronze wire anchor.
I delivered it to the world
where you buried your gold.
The self you were goes into hiding
off Cythera, for God's sake, in a force
seven storm. Whatever happened,
there was that sweet smile after, floating back,
an assured child from an unshared reach.