David Whitwell

Last Lunch with Eileen


The light on the levels surprised us

that last time.

Unexpectedly bright with

all the colours of early summer.

Driving to The Inn at Burtle

we saw swans on the bank

and ducks swimming in the rhyne.


A hot wind was blowing from the Mendips,

not cooling us at all

just rattling the awning

over where we sat.


You were talking about life in Burma,

gentle people you remembered so well.

You had told me about them before.


The girl who brought our lunch delighted you

with her manners and her looks.

She was from Poland.

So nice you said.


After all your long journeys,

this was it. You were 96.

Nothing else happened that last day.

It was hot and you were on good form,

still had time for a slow lunch with your nephew.

You had some beer and a pudding,

said it was all perfect,

you couldn’t eat more.

You were so bright that day.