Rudderless ~ A Poem for My Grandmother

Rose Close Up by anankkml/
If you were here now
  you would tell us to get on with it,
  to move forwards with the hands of time.
You would take charge, as you always did,
  standing at the helm,
  riding out the storm.
We would buck or follow, sulk or smile
  but loving you all the while,
  respecting you and trying to please.
For all the times I put my feelings first instead of yours,
  I am so very sorry …
But you know this,
  for the tsunami of tears rises heavenward.
If you were here now
  you would be proud of us pulling together,
  shipmates … your family.
Most of us only exist because of you …
  so now the ship has no direction,
  floating vacantly with no-one to steer, to lead.
If only you were here now.

Not today …

A Study In Pink by Maggie Smith/

 I want to write something beautiful …

A sonnet to make your heart sing,

a verse to fill your head with dreams

Cherry blossom falling,

  raining like confetti

A dewdrop on an open rose,

glistening as a new day dawns

Rose From The Garden by Bill Perry/

An iris swaying in the summer breeze,

  as blue as an azure sky

A fairytale ending,

  soulmates bonded for eternity

But my eyes are stinging,

  swollen from tears

I wish you love and hope,

  but I cannot write something beautiful today

© 2011


My entry for Luna’s Poetry Month Clambake (Week 3)

Can we talk?

I don’t know about you, but I’m a person who likes to talk, if only sometimes to eliminate those uncomfortable silences experienced from time to time.  In the Doctor’s waiting room (any medical/optical waiting rooms for that matter) … in a pub, sat alone while you’re friend is at the bar … walking past an elderly lady in the street who you just know wants to talk to you because you can see it in her eyes.

I didn’t used to talk so freely … I was too scared to.  My heart would pound and my skin would prickle at the very thought of opening my mouth to engage with a stranger.  Instead, I would sit there and squirm, throwing them a strained smile now and then as if to apologise … hey, sorry we’re both here … sorry it’s so quiet and we’re both uncomfortable, but I don’t have the courage to draw attention to myself by being friendly … sorry I don’t have time to share a few words with you and make your day a little brighter before you go home to an empty, lonely house.

But the older I’ve become, the more easily I let the conversation flow … hell, even if they don’t answer, it certainly made me feel better.  At least I made an effort!

I think that deep down, within everyone, there is the yearning to connect … I’m not talking on a deep level necessarily (don’t get me started on soulmates!), but on just a human level … the need for interaction.  So these days I seem to go out of my way to oblige.  I’ll smile back at the lonely-looking soul sat on the bench, a smile that can spark a brief conversation if he wants it to or which can just be left as an offering, no pressure to give me anything in return.  I’ll persuade the very nervous-looking girl who’s sat on her own in the Dentist’s waiting room to talk a little, my sole reason being so that I can tell her everything will be okay (I always get SO nervous when I come here, but today I have to have a tooth out.  I’m scared!).  I’ll chit chat to the lady in the local shop, although for some reason I find this a bit harder, the words don’t come as easily – because at times I’m very shy?  Because I don’t want to give too much of myself away?

And I’ll smile politely and talk for a while to the lady in the supermarket who commented on the pens I was looking at and then spent a good five minutes (felt a lot longer) telling me all about the college course she is studying, clearly desperate to share her excitement with someone, anyone.  And the lady whom I met for the first time a few weeks ago who treated me like an old friend, repeatedly apologising for wanting to talk so much (which only made me want to talk to her a bit more so she wouldn’t feel bad).  She shouldn’t need to say sorry for simply talking, for wanting to pass the time with someone on a sunny morning!  And I still thought this after I bent down to pick something up and inadvertently spotted the brandy bottle nestling in her unzipped handbag, the sickly-sweet smell of alcohol on her breath only faintly noticable as I stood upright again.  I felt even more for her then … heartily waving at me, thanking me for the conversation before walking home to her tomb of a life.  Who am I to judge? I thought … I didn’t know anything about her, save for facts: the names of her children and grandchildren and where they had been the previous weekend.  That brandy might have been for baking; it might have been for her husband who begged her to buy it because he knows he has a problem and he’s ashamed to be seen buying another bottle; it might have been for her to have a sip of at bedtime because she could feel a cold coming on.  I didn’t want to believe that it was for her, or that the spritely smile was just a mask … that the minute she got home and closed the door behind her, shutting the cruel world out, she would wither and retreat into a world darkened by the contents of that bottle.

Sometimes, even if I am on top of the world (which, believe it or not, does happen!) I withdraw into my shell and don’t really want to come out.  Those are the moments when you can end up being the most surprised … like today when I walked into a boutique and didn’t really feel like talking.  The immaculately made-up and perfectly dressed assistant/manager (the only person in there anyway) asked how I was and we exchanged pleasantries for a couple of minutes, although I could have done without it.  I was fine until I said something (can’t recall what) which prompted her to say that the shop had been located a couple of streets away for the past two  years before relocating – in her eyes just providing me with information, but in mine accusing me of being ignorant as to what had existed around the corner all that time – and I ever so slightly bristled.  My life’s been in turmoil, I wanted to shout.  I haven’t had the luxury of looking at anything nice for myself for the past two years! I wanted to snap, feeling defensive for reasons I could not fathom.

Instead, I took a moment to breathe and replied, “Oh, I’ve had too much going on for the past two years,”  … which was all it took for this pretty woman, this stranger, to embark upon her story … ridiculously similar to my own.  In seconds, the dynamics of the situation had completely changed – it went from a service provider/customer situation to two women who have been battered by similar life events (in the same time frame, no less) engaged in enthusiastic conversation, throwing pieces of ourselves back and forth, the other devouring each morsel hungrily before offering up even more … private details which, had we not experienced the same hurt, neither of us would have divulged to someone whom we had only just met … and yet, by a chance thread of conversation (we could have stopped at the pleasantries), we had suddenly discovered we were equals. 

Men can’t possibly be capable of loving as deeply as we do*, we concluded.  Marriage is supposed to be worked at if you truly love each other, we agreed.  Our children are beautiful, we comforted.

* Merely an opinion based on personal experience … not a condemnation.

Through our hurt, we connected.  In one chance meeting, two strangers raised each other’s self esteem.  ‘It makes you feel better talking to someone who knows what it feels like,’ I said.  ‘Like you’re not the only one,’ she said.  And although our conversation was cut short when other customers entered the boutique, I am certain that when I left – each of us having told the other to take care, a worthy escalation from politeness to warmth – she was standing a little bit more straight, her chin ever so slightly raised in defiance, reminding herself (I hope) that she is worth fighting for, that she deserves to be truly loved, and that she will be just fine.  These are the things I tell myself each day.

Funny that, don’t you think?  Connecting in such a huge way with a stranger, when I hadn’t really wanted to talk in the first place …  🙂

© 2011

Truth or Done

A rare rhymed poem … (old)


Why is it so hard to tell the truth?

  so much easier than inflicting emotional abuse

Honest I’ve always been

  and honest I’ll stay

But maybe that’s why

  I’m feeling this way

Forever the fool, to comfort and help,

  being stepped on and squashed,

  but never a yelp

Just when I thought

  we were getting somewhere

I find myself dejected

  and struggling with what’s fair

Why can’t he see

  that trust is so fragile?

Quickly broken,

  and earned back in miles

made of the thinnest glass

  and of the clearest colour

Once it is broken,

  it couldn’t be duller

And if it smashes

  it takes forever to build

Pain and tears

  and feelings killed

So where do I start with it?

  What do I do?

  How can we ever start anew?

Or is it time to say “it’s done”?

We tried togetherness,

  tried to be one

And it’s not me who let

  the glass ball drop

Once he told one lie,

  he couldn’t stop

So I’m stood at the crossroads,

  and the signs are unclear

Hard to read

  through all the tears

Should I give one more chance,

  give him the best of me?

I’ve spent so long believing

  that he’s my destiny

So I sit here and write,

  waiting for a sign

Please, oh please

  come and tell me you’re mine!

And that there’ll be no more fabrications,

  no more lies to undo

Because all I’ve ever wanted

  is you

© 2011

Alice in Dangerland

When did the ground start to open again?

  the black shadow darkness

  looming like a noose

How did I miss the sign

  telling me to stop

  before I fall?

Have I fallen yet?

Or am I standing on the edge

  of the abyss?

Nothing is falling past me,

  no clocks or rabbits

so I must still be safe

Yet danger is hugging me

  and sadness is choking me

Shall I just take the next step anyway?

  to feel the expectant relief

  of failure and stillness?

It feels harder to stand

  on the edge right now

When did I lose myself?

  and why is my soul fighting

  being found?

The answers are always the same

But the questions are forever changing

I’m so tired of it

Tired of myself



© www.mypastmademe 2011