What I Never Was

I never was my mother          except

when I distort the truth and tell

strange tales that no one else can fit

in nor recognise nor believe.

I never will be my mother

but when I feel that vice is gripping              whispering

‘bereft of friends’

I wonder: is that an echo of her whingeing?

No reflection of my mother              except

grey-peppered hair, turgid jaw,

or does my voice harshen when I offer

praises lethally counterpointed with ‘but’?

We are strangers on drifting shores

each other’s greatest disappointment.

Yet darkness floods us both alike.

If we could mention it

there might be hope.

Two Versions of a Poem

And, in the spirit of full disclosure, let me share another poetic experiment with you.  This was a poem I wrote as an answer to the question I posed in the previous post: Who lingers when all done is said?  Version 1 is my first attempt: wordier, spelling out meaning.  Version 2 is trying to take all of the superfluous padding out.  Is there enough left there to convey the meaning?  I’m not sure.  Probably a mix of the two will be my final version.

Version 1

The afterchime

The aftermath

The silence when the noise subsides.

They come to haunt,

Some: happy ghosts,

Some long-faced, gaunt.

They parade, unfold, start pacing.

But some stick fast

Like cobwebs on bushes

After the rain.

Version 2

The afterchime…

They come to haunt,

Some ghosts.

Stick fast

Like cobwebs on the bushes

After the rain.

Guess the Title

The challenge for this poem, should you choose to accept it, is guess the title (or the ‘subject’ of the poem).  I know, I know, sometimes a poem isn’t ‘about’ anything, but this particular one was written in response to a very specific fear (some might say I have too many fears in general).  A much earlier version of this poem appeared in the online multilingual literary (and arts) magazine http://www.respiro.org/

First the little slip.

Name much praised

remembered slightly aslant

like a jigsaw piece chewed and frayed

not quite fitting in its groove.

 

Then a petulant rewrite

of yesterday’s events:

a pout of a travesty

bearing no semblance, no cause, no fruit.

Too stubborn to admit all is haze and indifference.

 

Next, the heartbeat stop before mad scrabble

and dig and delve

to capture that elusive frame

in the broken film of the mind.

 

Finally, the chasms beckoning:

throw self in?

chuck pretence out?

make way for shadows,

population of yesteryear?

 

Darker and darker the woodland cover

hunched, stop-cock breathing,

waiting for the elliptical, haphazard flux to cease

the lynx-bared jaw of foaming bite

those fixed clear eyes of poison fire.

 

Precarious rock after rock

the chamois cleared.

But only just.

 

Next day

next week

its foothold less secure

chasms will close in-

to beckoning pools of blankness.

 

Winter Haikus

Winter Pass

Soft swish then silence

No traffic out my window-

Snow has come at last.

 

Steady trickled drip.

Drainpipe thick with icy coat.

Downward flash of mouse.

 

Frozen carrot nose,

Twigs in perfect puffy spheres.

Ours is best of all.

 

Lego bricks scatter.

Damp circle in flattened grass,

Where proud snowman stood.

 

Spit out weak coffee,

Collar up, I venture out

in the toothache cold.

 

With enormous thanks to Quirina, who reawakened me to the possibilities of the haiku.