poetry diary

Poetry is just the evidence of your life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash. (Leonard Cohen)

Month: March, 2017

A jelly baby

And what remains of love is this;
a pack of jelly babes.
“Give these to your mum,” he says,
and turns away to shield
his tears.

Fifty four sweets are in that bag;
one for each year of coloured days.
This one tastes of ’65,
that one of ’91 –
all gone.

“She still likes these, sometimes,” he says,
“as far as I can tell.”
She takes one more, unsmiling,
and heads towards the door,
unsure

of who she is or who we are,
or why these little bumpy things
still seem to mean so much to us
and feel so warm and moist,
almost

defining something once well known
she feels is lost or yet to come,
but will not find her now.
There must be something new
to do.

Across the room the curtains close,
and in the fading evening light,
a single jelly baby lies
alone; her lover’s furious final wail –
of farewell.

************

Jelly babies are traditional English sweets. People with dementia seem to like sweets.

Posted on d’Verse Open Link night.

The Albemarle Rest Home

Amongst the row of faces waiting death
is one I know; her mirrored eyes my own.
Like ancient sailors held in Siren song –
here sung by soft armchairs and patterned rugs –
they sit with cups of tea and biscuits, brought
by strangely purposed nurses, patiently.

Only their eyes resist that strengthening pull –
call back like whales to days long gone
of youthful lives on tennis courts,
school open days with charts and pens,
parental hopes and grandchildren;
of lovers trysts and last year’s post;
to yesterday and slowly fading vows,
and yesterday again, which seems much like tomorrow now.

Amongst the row of faces waiting death
is one I know. She’ll always be my mum.

*********************

This rest home specialises in dementia. We reached the point at which we could no longer cope with caring for my mother in the family home two weeks ago.

Posted on d’Verse Open Link night.

Leaving Japan

Early spring morning.
At Haneda I buy
hand-printed fabrics.

*********

Leaving Japan, feeling sad. It is a lovely country full of welcoming people.

March in Tokyo

No cherry blossom
yet – in Shinjuku a girl
smiles at her lover.

******************

Inspired by Basho (translated):

Behind the virgins’
quarters.
one blossoming plum.

Arriving in Tokyo

Neon characters
compete against winter rain.
The bus door opens.

**************

I haven’t written a haiku for a while, but as I find myself in Japan (somewhat unexpectedly and for the first time) it seems appropriate.