Send me a Leaf
Send me a leaf, but from a little tree
That grows no nearer your house
Than half an hour away. For then
You will have to walk, you will get strong and I
Shall thank you for the pretty leaf.
Bertolt Brecht (translated by David Constantine)
Last week someone came to see me who is experiencing a terrible grief after the death of someone precious to her. A few days after our conversation I received a letter from her enclosing the above poem. I was so moved by it, and have been thinking of her and her dear one a lot. Our love for people is so strong, and our pain consequently also very strong, but within it all, there is also beauty and strength and the continuance of the love, if we are lucky, alongside the pain.
This morning I went for a walk for half an hour and more to find a pretty leaf for her and for the one who has died, and for all my dear ones too – and for you. I went along the beach
past enthusiastic dogs and walkers,
and then around the corner past the retirement village with its new plants,
and down the street past this lovely garden,
and at around the half hour mark found a pretty pelargonium leaf,
and then another,
and on the way back some rosemary, the plant that symbolises remembrance, and is thus very apt to this post.
And now after my long walk I have brought the pretty leaves to you, with love and memories and a stronger heart.