How Could It Be?

How Could it Be?

 

I see you now and again across a restaurant

the red of your jumper catching my eye,

the blue and white check shirt pulling at the sleeve of my attention.

When I look up, of course, it’s not you

How could it be?

 

I see you in the hospital waiting room hunched

in an uncomfortable plastic chair.

I see the top of your head through thinning hair

still carefully combed

when he looks up, of course, it isn’t you

How could it be?

 

I imagine I hear you nod your approval

over my shoulder as I read a well-constructed poem

or exceptional piece of literature.

I hear your slow and deliberate consideration;

“Hmmmmm, yeeeeessss” but it isn’t you

How could it be?

 

Six years have passed.

Your presence hasn’t waned as one would expect it to

like a receding shadow or fading bloom.

You are as real to me now as you were in life

though I cannot choose to visit you,

only treasure the glimpses I am gifted;

at the concert hall, the bookshop,

in the armchair.

 

Day 18 of Napowrimo and the challenge was to write an elegy of your own, one in which the abstraction of sadness is communicated not through abstract words, but physical detail.

This poem is about my Father-In-Law who never seems too far away, even now.

 

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46

I’m 46 for goodness sake!

Where did those years go?

I was 20 only yesterday

full of vigour and gusto.

I’m closer to the grave

than the cradle which is mad

I haven’t even started yet

wasted youth is pitifully sad.

I should have sailed around the world

raising Hell everyday

been a rock star filling stadiums

instead of shuffling life away.

But had I been that rock chic

I’d never have met my man

or held my babies in my arms

and heard them call me Mam.

But Bloody Hell, I’m not ready!

for wrinkles and support tights

I’ll not go gently into bingo halls

and fade into goodnight.

So crack open the Southern Comfort

add a splash of coke

there’s still life left in this old girl

before I finally croak.

Drink up and let’s be merry

raise a glass or two

to living our lives fully

before we bid adieu.

From there to here

I am of hard cobblestones

that broke developing bones

of damp bricks and dense drizzle skies.

I am of the baggy grey sock

that slumps down the leg

and is constantly hitched up.

I am of skipping ropes tied

to flaky paint lampposts

of hot buttered toast suppers.

I am of backyard washing lines,

coal holes and metal bin lids.

I’m of children home by lamplight

and Grimm Fairytales.

Of job centres and blue collar jobs

and paydays prayed for weekly.

Now, I’m of tidy semi,

tarmac roads, motorway hell

of clinical 9-5 desk job

office politics, niceties, pleasantries.

I’m conditioning brilliant white socks,

limiting lightly buttered whole meal toast.

I’m central heating and condenser dryer.

I’m of assessed, measured, compared,

evaluated, tracked and monitored kids

and censored fairytales.

It’s Day 11 of Napowrimo and the prompt is to tell of where you are from and where are you now. Please excuse the poor punctuation… this is written on the hoof as always.

Compass

Compass

 

I wandered lonely as a cloud

My compass buried beneath the earth

He was my North, my South, my East and West

 

The last grain of sand tore him from my grasp

through the hourglass out of reach

I wandered lonely as a cloud

 

From our first encounter

until our last

He was my North, my South, my East and West

 

Without him I had no left or right

No above, no below, no soul.

I wandered lonely as a cloud

 

I roamed alone over hill and stone

no destination, no meaning, no goal.

I wandered lonely as a cloud

He was my North, my South, my East and West

 

Today’s Napowrimo challenge was playing with format; write a poem that incorporates at least one of the following: (1) the villanelle form, (2) lines taken from an outside text, and/or (3) phrases that oppose each other in some way.

I chose to take lines from William Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” and WH Auden’s “Stop All The Clocks” in a villanelle poem. My opposites are wandering aimlessly and the points of a compass (slightly tenuous, perhaps!).

I’m really enjoying the stretch of the challenge and encourage everyone with a love of the written word to join in and have a go, even if you capture your poems in secret. Enjoy.

 

The Window

The Window

 

I stood on a chair and watched from the window.

Hours went by.

You came home happy and drunk.

I looked out into a sea of parents

wiped my make-up off

and walked home alone.

On the eve of my Wedding

you spent the night at your boyfriend’s.

My bridesmaid helped me into my dress the next day.

When my daughter was born you went shopping

for something suitable to wear for photographs.

I held her close with a full heart.

Now you view my work on gallery walls,

return home and watch from your window.

 

child at window

It’s Napowrimo Day 4 the challenge today was to write a sad poem using simple words. I love this style, plain and direct and leaves the reader to elicit the emotional impact.

 

Together

Together

 

The chores were the same but it was different.

The bed linen was now king size.

The mugs were chosen together

Large handles to accommodate his big hands

the colours to please her.

 

The supermarket shop was initially uncomfortable

and took twice as long.

What do we like to eat? Do we like the same things?

Which toothpaste? Which Milk?

 

Hanging his laundry on the washing line

seemed intensely personal

but he smiled at her as she did so

and she held his gaze.

hand holding together

Day three of Napowrimo and the challenge was to write something that involves a story or action that unfolds over an appreciable length of time. I’ve interpreted the prompt to include a glimpse into lives which have changed, time being the catalyst. I leave the reader to imagine what story could have unfolded to lead up to this point in their lives.

For those wanting to join in the Napowrimo challenge here is the link to today’s prompt. Napowrimo Day 3

 

Modesty and Joy

Simple Joy

 

It was the practical low heeled brown boots

that first caught my eye

my glance cast sideways so not to embarrass

the subject of my attention.

Secretly I studied her slender legs

leading up to the hem of a brown floral dress

and the crocheted cuffs of a sensible beige cardigan.

The modesty of attire surprised me.

Authors on their book launch night

are lavish and elegant

coiffured, polished and primed

but not so this lady.

I liked the understated look,

the quiet confidence of a writer

who had no need of a façade.

Her body of writing shining on its own merit

with no false vanity.

I adored this lady before she spoke a word

Davidson, Rowland, b.1942; Lady Reading a Book by Lamplight

2.32AM

 

232bathroom

 

2.32 !!!

Awake!! Need the loo!!!

Blast that last cup of tea!

 

 

232tea

 

 

Creep back to bedroom.

Feel my way through the gloom.

Slide into bed silently.

 

232sleep

 

 

Turn hot pillow over;

cools my neck and my shoulder.

Slip into sleep happily.

Poetry is for sharing; The Washing Line

It’s my very strong belief that poetry and prose is for sharing. Once written, it should be shared so others can take pleasure in it or perhaps receive a degree of relief in knowing others have felt the same emotions or had the same experiences. This sudden declaration comes after receiving an email from a friend, asking permission to read my poem out loud to her mother who suffers from dementia. She believes this poem would make her smile.

Concerned about copyright, she sought permission and asked if she could also read the poem out loud for another group she attends, who have members of retirement age.

This made me think. To protect our rights to “maybe one day” be published, we cling to copyrights and legal protection – but surely this is all going too far? What happened to sharing tales around the fireside for pure enjoyment? I’m saddened to think we have moved that far away from those days…. here is the poem requested, feel free to read / delete / critique to your heart’s content.

The Washing Line

 

Down dark cobbled back streets, clothes lines stretched

across cohorts of back yards, on Washing Day.

Regiments of white bed sheets hoisted high

flapping like flags,  in threatening skies

supported by proud,

immoveable clothes props.

Garments not daring to fly loose,

straddled by dolly pegs

forced down hard.

 

Above boiling bleach buckets,

malevolent steam swirled, silently seething,

polluting the air with pungent peroxide.

The back door was wedged open, windows wide,

but still its clammy fingers clung to high corners.

 

Seized shirts submerged in the twin tub

were dragged out of the simmering broth

by oversized wooden tongs, grinning

toothless crocodiles.

 

A solitary circular spinner flipped its lid

with brutal force, revealing a gaping hole

that gobbled up garments,

before firing it’s jet engine

at the press of an oversized button.

A bright warning label spelled danger but,

I was more afraid of grandma.

So I did as I was bid

and stayed two full steps back,

watching a steady stream of captives

being fed into the rollers of the mangle,

pulled out prostrate, straight jacketed,

lobotomised on the other side.

 

Winched up on a maiden, by rope and pulley

squealing like a stuck pig, screaming in protest;

corsets and bloomers were discreetly dried.

Ponderous drops dripped

onto the oilcloth floor beneath

missing expectant open mouthed buckets.

 

Hugging the gas fire, a burdened clothes horse

promised more than it could deliver.

A metal mesh fireguard, kept long after toddler years,

lent its flat roof to dry despondent socks.

 

From picture rail gallows, lifeless forms hung

closing in on the living,

One by one they were gathered,

folded and locked away in the airing cupboard

guarded by a gurgling old boiler in his

pillar-box red padded jacket.

 

Paroled for ironing; creases were pressed out

and forcibly pressed in.

Under a hellish red hot iron

wet handkerchiefs hissed and spat.

The board creaked and groaned,

along with grandma as she held her back.

 

Finally, the ordeal was over.

Clothes were locked into looming tall boys

with the turn of a tiny brass key.

 

The line stretches through time

from dolly tub to auto scrub.

My laundry is gently taken

from a silent washer,

that soaks and spins on demand,

conditioned smooth and wrinkle free

without need of an army of machines,

lightly clipped by brightly coloured pegs.

Still, I discreetly throw my underwear

into the dryer and smile

“What would the neighbours say?”

 

Mine is an easy load.  My line marks the ages

of my babies as their clothes grow.

Our tired old favourite t-shirts

out of shape and faded,

hang comfortably together, blowing in the wind.

Billowing white sheets release

their bouquet of jasmine and lily.

The sun warms my face,

the breeze caresses my skin

like the palm of a hand against my cheek,

or a kiss on the forehead from grandma.

blog11

 

The Rump

fatback

I can cope with my belly

wobbling like jelly.

I can cope with

my thunderous thighs.

You see I’ve had both

much longer than most

actually… for most of my life.

 

But something that’s new

and just will not do

is a rump

that’s appeared behind.

Just above my rear

a mound has appeared

and this

I most definitely mind.

 

My shape has expanded

with no effort demanded,

unnoticed by my drowsy eyes.

But….one fateful morn

in the cold light of dawn

I saw a rump

that could feed a small tribe.

 

My back once was a line

punctuated by my

bottom at the bottom

of my spine.

But now it stops short

at the rump

I now port;

a short line

of mine

is NOT fine.

 

Yet here’s my conundrum

for the heap over my bum

I’ve never ever met

Will Power.

A diet of shakes

or small salad days

never lasts for more

than an hour.

 

So I guess I’ll resign

to this new shape of mine

buy elasticated waists

and stretch pants.

Take up a bit more seat

whilst I continue to eat

in between meals and

open mic rants.