Eulogy For Someone In The Room

1 June 2013

Recently I’ve been thinking about ghosts

ones that seem to have nothing to do with
the enhanced or rather …
accentuated being of those they
appear to, but have their own quest …

Elena told me that her husband had
haunted her, yet only before he died

Then she said she had grown up with …
couple of ghosts in the country. They were
old bushmen that had been murdered or …
maybe just fallen in a hole …

Poetry brought them out she said. When my
father died I went through all his books to
save them from the Salvo’s; I used to go
down to the creek and read the bleaker …
moments of King Lear, and snippets from …
Faerie Queene, though I was barely aware
of their meaning. The ghosts would sidle up
quietly and sit on a log. After I
wondered if they would have smoked if I’d …
offered them tobacco. When I dream …
about them they’re always my father – both
of them. I told Andrew and Janine most
of this last week, when we were heading to
the beach. Andrew was predictably …
skeptical that Elena had ever
been in the bush: it’s that colonial
research crowd she’s mixed up in, he said: as
if they were bootleggers or bikies …

Elena had taken to …
academia in her sixties and
had been experimenting with her hair
colour, having been either blonde or …
brunette (not a mixture as so many
are now) all her life. Andrew always …
insists on the urbanism of …
Australia, as if the country’s …
distant past, and something basically …
shameful. Janine said nothing at the time
it would have been like her though to launch …
into a complex monologue on …
subject about three days later, if we
hadn’t gone off the road soon after …
hit a poplar. Elena’s a very
good public speaker. She has a rich tone
to her voice, encompassing sympathy
irony, dry humour. She has been asked
on occasion to speak at …
funerals of strangers, of people who’d
come to deliver something and had …
heart attack on the steps for example

Elena could make a joke of this …
manner of dying and be thanked for it
afterwards. Elena was speaking
suavely about the self-consciousness she
had felt giving a paper at …
conference on a writer who was in …
room. Then she shifted to …
conversations on ghosts we’d been having
recently. I can see him now she said
in quasi Lady Macbeth voice, standing
by the dahlias; and that’s just where I was

Andrew and Janine were outside, ashing
in the pond, not wanting to have …
anything to do with …
Elena’s ironic praise – how absurd!

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