Monthly Archives: July 2014

THE GIFT

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As it’s been much in the news, I’m adding my thoughts about assisted dying:

 

THE GIFT

‘Life is a gift,’ the placards say,

Opinion is riding high,

How dare you think you can give it back,

You don’t have the right to die.

 

Who knows how long your life will be,

Or how long the stars will shine?

Six days, six months, or endless years,

You don’t know the secrets of time.

 

Think of the life that would be erased,

The pool of memories dried, 

A grandchild taking a tottering step,

The radiant smile of a bride.

Some flickering candles on birthday cake,

The warmth of a partner’s smile,

The rhythm of dance, a plaintive song,

Love the gift – and stay alive.

 ***

Respect my choice, I hear you say,

The decision is only mine,

I shall drift in peace to an endless sleep,

And I shall choose my moment in time.

 

You can hold my hand, so I know you’re there,

You can answer my parting call,

Give me your blessing and let me go,

That’s the most special gift of all.

 

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I’M NOT SELLING SOCKS!

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No, I’m not selling socks, if only I were! All is clear with socks, you buy them by sizes, colours, thickness and their composition. But if you are selling customized poetry it’s different. My service is unique and tailored to individual and specific requests. A number have been coming in recently, ranging for a speech for a best man, a poem about parental alienation and some requests for poems about love gone wrong.

There is nothing on the shelf to take down and wrap up, only the blank piece of paper, a pen and the notes sent in by the person requesting the poem. At that first moment, it’s difficult. Will I be able to think of anything different to say? Will I get stuck after a verse or two and have to abandon the task? Will I have been empathetic enough with the customer’s request? After all, this is a person I have never met, know almost nothing about and may live on the other side of the world. I may also have to do some additional research on certain subjects before I can even begin to think of the lines. I know nothing about the Incredible Hulk, or owls, or skeleton keys, but I’ve been asked to include them in verse.

Usually though, after the first few scribbles, some ideas begin to take shape. Sometimes the rhythm is at the forefront of my mind, and sometimes it might be a few key words from what the customer has actually provided. And so, things begin to take shape, though there are usually about three pages of crossed out verse before I get to a decent draft. Then I begin to feel pleased with myself that once again the creative muse has stirred me!

I always read the poem aloud before completing it, sometimes several times; that helps to iron out the glitches, though in this hot weather with the windows wide open I do wonder what the neighbours might be thinking.

Sometimes, sitting here at my desk in the attic I get a strange sense of connection with  the customer and have some certainty that they will like what I have written. But that doesn’t stop me being very nervous, once I have pressed the SEND button. I really look forward to the feedback and love to know how my poems are received.

After all, it’s much better than being thanked for sending a pair of socks!

 

SHELTERED

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A while ago I was asked to write a poem about parental alienation. The sad notes that came with the email stayed in my mind, so I have written this poem for JB in Canada. I hope it reflects something of what she wanted to say to her Mum and Dad.

 

SHELTERED

I listen and I listen,

I long to hear his voice,

To share my mixed up crazy thoughts –

And discover I’ve a choice.

 

Choice to be a daughter

Of two people side by side,

Trying to split my feelings

Just tears me up inside.

 

But Mom says:

‘We’re not at home this evening,

We’re not at home all week,

Just call again some other time,

And then perhaps we’ll speak.’

 

I’ve heard those words so often,

But for me it’s just the same,

My heart feels crushed like frozen ice –

It fears this lying game.

 

I’m always on the side-lines,

Watching children in the street,

Their Moms and Dads beside them,

While us? We hardly speak.

 

It was both of you together

That gave this gift of life,

But the wounds I feel inside me

Are stabbing like a knife.

 

I’m hoping, oh I’m hoping,

To become your child again,

To be tucked inside  familiar hearts

And freed from loss and pain.

 

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