In Hull on Friday for the funeral of my lovable though sometimes difficult aunt, who was keen on poetry, and particularly on the local product. Which set a recurring theme for the day, starting with one cousin’s reading at the crematorium,
The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said …
and ending, after many hours of revisiting family history and several bottles of good red wine, with a spontaneous rousing chorus of
Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.
Not that it was a morbid day. There were spring flowers everywhere and we basked in spring sunshine, and there was a new baby to admire. And a great deal that was very good to celebrate in the family history, too.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.
I’m very glad I went. I don’t see my cousins often, but they are important to me, and it’s lovely to see the next generations of their families flourishing (so far nobody other than me has actually followed Larkin’s advice on the question of reproduction). The whole day formed a fitting send-off for a vivid, complicated and often wonderfully entertaining aunt. A hangover the next morning seemed a small price to pay.