In harmony

Wife warms milk, fills three small mugs,
husband drips opioid drops, stirs.

Each avoids other’s glances.

Trio of children, undressed
and cross-legged on their mattress,
drink their bedtime milk,
pledge their bedtime allegiance,
shut their bedtime eyes;
quicker, deeper than usual.

Husband and wife swap assenting glances.

She rolls back rugs,
he lifts floorboards,
they haul out the
chest, she hands him
the key, he turns
the lock, they lift
the lid, slowly, slowly, savouring the moment, as
familiar vivid treasures lying dormant within, are
awakened by the dulling light of dusk.

They each take their parcel as far from the other as the tiny room allows.
Each watches the other shed their formless overalls, trading smiles of comradeship.
They turn to stand back to back as they change.
Victor buttons his faded-white still-starched dress shirt, pulls on his hand-stitched evening suit.
Anna steps into a gown of brocade as deeply blue, shimmering, as remembered summer lakes.

They turn to face each other;
recognition settles in, as
they take each other’s hands.

And they dance.

Slowing the silent waltz to a close,
Victor smiles. ‘Happy Anniversary, darling.’
Anna whispers, ‘will these times ever return?’

They each undress the other,
wrap their treasure in
tissue, stow away the chest.

Wife fetches blankets from bench,
husband takes mattress from wall.
They lie down, face to face, by
three deep-sleeping children, and
each holds the other’s gaze.


Rambling through to springtime

Not written much recently; words just not been floating round my head ready for capture and taming.  Need to sort that out as new writing course starts soon.  Terrified, actually.  Will drink in stimulation online from stash of rainy-day bookmarks.  First on list is Polish poet Wisława Szymborska’s witty advice.

Follow the link above for a selection of Ms Szymborska’s replies (translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh) to questions submitted to her newspaper column.  They are honest –

“Your existential pains come a trifle too easily. We’ve had enough despair and gloomy depths. ‘Deep thoughts,’ dear Thomas says (Mann, of course, who else), ‘should make us smile.’ Reading your own poem ‘Ocean,’ we found ourselves floundering in a shallow pond. You should think of your life as a remarkable adventure that’s happened to you. That is our only advice at present.”

wise –

“You write, ‘I know my poems have many faults, but so what, I’m not going to stop and fix them.’ And why is that … ? Perhaps because you hold poetry so sacred? Or maybe you consider it insignificant? Both ways of treating poetry are mistaken, and what’s worse, they free the novice poet from the necessity of working on his verses. It’s pleasant and rewarding to tell our acquaintances that the bardic spirit seized us on Friday at 2:45 p.m. and began whispering mysterious secrets in our ear with such ardor that we scarcely had time to take them down. But at home, behind closed doors, they assiduously corrected, crossed out, and revised those otherworldly utterances. Spirits are fine and dandy, but even poetry has its prosaic side.”

and funny.

“Perhaps you could learn to love in prose.”

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