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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Poem 1

Years ago, when Alan and I moved into our first home together, in Paddington, there used to be a weak and mangy mango tree that stuck out of the brick work along one boundary.  I was so excited about having this tree in my backyard.

The first year we were there, it produced a handful of mangy fruit.  
The second year was a beauty.  The tree threw out the most massive mango I have seen to this day (and I can tell you, it was up against stiff competition as my dad is a Mango farmer).   I was so excited.  I thought that this tree was going to keep me in mangoes for life.

Unfortunatley though, the next year, the tree produced absolutely nothing.  Nada.  Nil. Zilch.  After that it wilted and died - I'm not even sure I noticed as I was disgusted with it.

I often thought of this tree whenever I had a fertile period.  

I wondered if I would one day have a golden season and then, like the tree, would I, too, wilt, wither and die?

Well as it so happens, I did have a golden season.

In 2009 and 2010, I experienced days of such intense and wonderful creativity, it was incredible.  And the proof of it was a whole stack of poems I produced.  I would go to the coffee shop of a morning, pull out my notepad and out would come a verse that needed little work.  I was on a roll.

And then, of course, in 2011, it all went to pot.

Sadly, I haven't actually managed to write a poem ever since other than one very bad limerick. (Any fool can rhyme 'prick' with 'dick').

Today I've decided to begin sharing at least some of that poetry left over from a happier and more fertile time.

The one I have chosen today was written about a couple as a Husband speaks to his Wife who has died.  I hope you enjoy it.  (It made my friend Cath cry)...

Of My Sly Living


Of my sly living I’ll speak but only after I am gone,
and then you’ll know it solely in the vestiges
of things I’ve left, those mere suggestions of my
being here at all.  

On the bed sheets washed and folded you’ll
find the rims of tears I’ve cried with gratitude for
mercies small and aching for those secret needs I knew would
never be achieved,

In the mirror is concealed a  corner where the  vapors of my breathing once formed
circles as I brushed my hair and nursed my countless worries at the
cruelties of time.  

On the floors are traced the outlines of my footfalls as I 
nursed our seven babies through the dawn suns,
looking forward with pure longing to the day I would
at last be free.

And on the couch are indents I have made where, as you slept,
I sat alone at night, the weight of withered dreams a load
that kept me tethered until I
finally lost hold,

Yet if you listen closely you will hear my joy
despite it all, the echoes of each sound I made
to indicate just how I felt when life would bear us up
and bring us down.  

And you’ll hear me singing out of tune while dressing up
to go to town to celebrate the sixty years we’d
shared as man and wife, not knowing yet how soon
the end would come. 

But now I’m gone, you know you can speak to me when 
e'er you miss me, for there I am in all the countless
unseen places - in  those vestiges of me
I’ve left behind. 


I heard your foot steps, love, more loudly than you knew
for every moment that you lived  I inhaled as if
you were  my very air, you were my skin,
you were my all.

With grateful heart I breathed the citrus scents
of all your toils  and heard your cries palpating through the rooms
that stank of all your naked need for stars  that stayed
beyond your reach

I watched you sometimes stare too long upon your
image in the glass, smacked breathless that
you could  not see my frank appreciation of your timeless beauty that
remained  sublime,

I relied upon the stronghold you kept upon our dreams,
as carer of our children who justified my daily grind and
were the lamps that every night would guide
you home to me.

And when you left our bed, of course, I comprehended
you were contemplating, as you were, that empty cup
I could  not hope to fill; my well was sadly
never deep enough.

But through your icy disaffection I could sense your pulse, dear love,
a warm and steady beat that anchored us, that
certainty we so needed when crises meant our life
was difficult.

I can hear you singing lullabies, I hear you pace the floor,
I see your face, each move it made, as sixty years flew by
so fast and then,  so suddenly you went
that still I'm numb.

Your sly living, love, is not enough - I miss the warmth of you,
for what I smell and feel of you won’t ease  my grief nor
help me sleep for me, alone, is all
you’ve left behind.

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