The End of Things

This week I have tackled a new poetry form each day. The Poetry Daily is an elegy today, which I don’t think I have ever written before. Although it might have been a NaPoWriMo challenge two years ago… The weather here is very heavy and this full moon has been characterised by another WordPress blogger, Mary Pat Lynch (Rising Moon Astrology) as “Dark Matter.”  The world news is far from jolly. Although it rarely is if you are Mother Earth, a child or woman these days. So if you are not in the mood for a Sorrowful Sunday, you may want to delay reading this until Mournful Monday, Mondays being more sympatico with that feeling.

The End of Things
What was it I lost?
Or left behind?
Or failed to stow
in my velvet handbag?

Who even owns this handbag?
It's so hard to know these days.
My handbag may not be
my handbag at all.

If I slit its lining carefully
might I sew in my memories?
Here are the ends of my dreams,
the solid work hewn of hope.
Here I can hide my destroyed faith.
My despair is in there, too.
More than a little love.

But still!
I have my lovely velvet handbag.
Even though
it is hard to know
who owns it
and its contents
any more
or who really cares
except me
and my velvet handbag.


Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.
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Day 18 NaPoWriMo2019 – Elegy

Often what connects people is loss. Poetry is all about making connections. They even have that slogan on the NaPoWriMo.net website banner. Losses…we have all had some, whether it is a loved one – pet or person – or a job, a home, a family. In the way that the universe operates in synchronicity a bedtime conversation last night feels appropriate for the morning’s poetry practice.

Your Daughter

Last night at bedtime
your daughter and I discussed you.
And really?
You raised your kids fine.
But they miss you.

Part of it
is emptying the family homeplace.
First, your clothes to all
your favourite charity shops.
Then the NHS patient appliances
back to the hospital. Again. But..
It's all good recycling. Still...
your daughter
flees the house absent
of your smell.
Empty now has a scent. Also,
the having to fold
your reading glasses
found on your bedside cabinet
beside the Jodi Picoult book
you will never now know
how it all ended.

Her friends are kind.
But they are young and think
the object of grief
is to forget its ache.
All she wants to do
is remember you.
So we talk
of what went right
and some of your unlived life.

Just before she leaves
before the lights go out
and kisses my cheek
saying "Night Night"
I tell your daughter how
all daughters
eventually
become their mothers.
Even if only in our small foibles.
Like the reminder notes
I post beside my purse
and on the kitchen counter
for tomorrow
just like
my own mother.
And your daughter
goes to her bed
with a smile.

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

GloPoWriMo2019
Bee Smith is participating in GloPoWriMo2019

Elegy

I am exploring various poetry forms this week that I would not normally practice. Having warmed up with a month of poetry etudes I am pushing myself to try the previously less tested ways of expressing a poem. I do believe I must have had a bash at an elegy at some stage during the past two years of NaPoWriMo, but I honestly cannot remember that effort. The death of a friend’s father at age 91 prompted me to consider that generation that is swiftly passing from us. Both my mother, mother-in-law, beloved aunt and paternal uncles all saw their 90th birthdays and beyond. They lived in interesting times, growing up in either the Great Depression, World War II, and the extreme austerity of post-war reconstruction.

So this elegy was written with Bill in mind, who as a child witnessed the demotion of the city of Coventry in a fire storm, as much as my mother, who was medical support staff in the U.S. Coast Guard, or my in-laws who survived blitz and the North Africa campaign in the service of the RAF’s Air Sea Rescue. They did live to a brave age, as we say in Ireland, but they also lived in an age that made them have to be brave.

 

A Brave Age

 

Sorry for your loss, then,

He was a brave age, or

She lived to a brave age,

that making of old bones.

 

They lived in a brave age.

Greatest generation,

fighting, forging freedom,

having a ringside seat

 

to RAF and Luftwaffe

nights of mass destruction,

either in a cockpit

or crouched in bomb shelter.

 

They all knew the gnawing,

collateral damage

in years of aftermath.

Do the arithmetic.

 

Age 90 they achieve

near 33 thousand

days on earth, breathed, lived,

seen, done, been unconquered

 

despite hairline fractures,

bowed spines, fading hearing,

cataracts. Then the falls

that carry them all off.

 

The effort needed to care –

about bills, birthdays, the

ephemera of life

all slip under the door

 

like a bad ransom note

from those they knew when young

when no one was young but

their self. Memory,

 

the synapses fizzle,

static on the line, then

losing the connection.

So maddening.

 

Then the final falling

away –onto the floor,

into the outback of

consciousness.

 

The medical notes say:

Do no resuscitate.

Let those hallowed old bones

take flight.

 

rest

now

in

peace

 

Copyright © Bee Smith 2018