Love’s Joys and Disappointments

Before and After
These little words
Mean the difference
Between life
And death,
And despair,
And abandonment.
Who will row us
Across time’s dismal river,
That great divide,
To the land of
No return?
Beside his bed,
Touching his arm,
A little cough
And then
The laboured breathing
I hold him in my arms,
Whisper words of comfort.
His body relaxes.
Later, afterwards,
I kiss his cooling head
And feel no fear.
If he is in the Afterlife,
We are in the afterdeath
Clearing out
What was his room,
His life
Another fateful day,
Joyful and excited,
True love seems
Within my grasp,
I am ready
To be happy
Ever after.
But now, in this aftermath,
Of grief
I have lost him,
My dreams
Airbrushed away.
From the blessed before
To the agonising after,
The reading of one missive
Was all it took.
And who can tell
When and how
A before
Turns to an after,
That shatters our lives
And transports us
Across those dark waters
Without a by your leave?May we find the strength
To accept the fleeting nature
Of our lives,
Our happiness,
To touch the joy as it flies,
That every after is always
A before
In the unfolding
Of life’s mysteries.

Written 22nd March, 2012

Every moment counts

Because you are not here,
Because I feel alone,
I steal from my own life
And make you the thief.

I refuse
To feel whole,
To live fully
In every moment.
I refuse to claim
The territory
Of my life.

Instead I blame
My emptiness on you,
Blame you
For holding myself back,
For feeling partial,

Enough of this madness,
This weakening of self,
This injustice to you.

You owe me nothing,
My life, my wholeness
Is my own.

Love can only spring
From freedom.
You are not
My reason for living,
My fulfilment
My flourishing.

Time to reclaim
My territory,
Time to see
Each leaf, each flower,
And feel each
Sunbeam fully.

Time to be
Present to myself
And the world.

Time to let go
The hope of rescue
From the pain
Of childhood,
The love that wasn’t,
The well of sadness.
These are not your griefs.

God knows
You have your own aplenty.

May I wake up
And live each moment
In awe and wonder
To be alive and whole,
And never hold you
For my failure
To be myself.

May you be free,
To enjoy
And love
In your own way.

And may I find
My peace
At last.

25th April 2012 after a light bulb moment.

I must not die tonight
I must not die.
I steer my car
Seeing threat
Now home,
I climb my stairs
Lest I should fall,
But I am already fallen
Into a deep,
Sweet swoon
.For this sickness
There is no cure
Save tomorrow.
Like an arrow
Caressing the sky,
As it curves
Towards its target,
My soul arches
Towards the dawn,
Propelled by longing.
Salvation is near.Tomorrow
Will be here.

Written 15th January, 2015

Multi-story car parks
What stories they could tell
These resting places
For our metallic souls.
Arrivals in hope,
Departures in sorrow.
People poised to fly
Away from earthly torment,
Egged on even
By heartless bystanders.
Beginnings of great import,
Endings by the blank wall.
Duke Street multi was where
You kissed me on both cheeks,
An ‘mm’ escaped my lips,
Hoping for their turn.
You echoed the sound
And turned to go.
Rose Lane car park,
Romantically named?
Dark, deserted, dreary,
But lit by the first real kiss,
And then another.
What transport of delight!
Duke Street again,
But now we go
Our separate ways,
With neither kiss
Nor touch,
Moving away from,
Rather than towards
The bliss that could have been.
But worse is yet to come.
The time is 2.00am,
A witching hour of night.
Together we reach
Level 5,
Station multi- storey,
And before the blank wall,
You say goodbye
And take yourself
To a higher level,
The magic number 7.
How I long to hold you,
To feel the farewell kiss,
The kiss of death, perhaps,
Releasing me….
As I descend (to car park hell?),
I see your car
Bearing you away
From me
For ever?
Blank, bland concrete,
Tell this, my story
To someone who may feel it
Without knowing,
A chill, sighing wind,
The vibration
Of a broken heart,
Reverberating in this
Heartforsaken place,
Gently touching
Whoever climbs
The dreary stairs
To find their metal refuge
From this cruel world.Written 11th November, 2012

The Midpoint
Between the agony
And the ecstasy,
Between the hope,
And the despair,
Is situated
The midpoint,
The still point.
Neither love,
Nor abandonment,
Neither passion,
Nor rejection,
The inbetween place
Of calm acceptance.
A mature place
For seasoned travellers
To jettison their packs
Of severed connections,
Their lumpy baggage,
Of poisoned pasts
And failed futures.
All those relationships
That didn’t, weren’t.
Or couldn’t.
But in this oasis
There is freedom to be,
Freedom still to love,
Yet not be loved back,
No matter,
For true love is its own reward.
And there is still
A life to be lived fully.
No tragedy,
No drama even.
But life’s purpose
And can be answered.
And slowly perhaps,
A plant may grow,
Whether daisy, rose or oak,
Time will surely tell.
A friendship may bear fruit
In this storm’s eye,
This midpoint,
This no- mans- land
Of connection.Fruit of the intellect
Fruit of the spirit,
Fruit of the careful nurturing
Of suffering souls.

And from this fruit may come
A certain wine,
Neither too heady,
Nor too dry,
But one with which to toast
Life’s mysteries,
And celebrate
Serenity at last.

September 2010

Strange what throws us
Out of orbit.
Just when all seemed calm,
Almost ordinary,
You are quoting Dante
In the original,
Words flowing over me
Like stars.
My world teeters off its axis,
Spinning fast.
I grip the table edge.
This moment is one of those –
Unearthly, transcendent,
A black hole in time
Where you fall in
Not knowing
Where you may emerge
And when.
If ever.
And now,
I try to pull together
What seemed to be myself
And stop staring at you
In awe and reverence.
Written 19th December, 2011. Reference a meal at a sushi restaurant at the Southbank Centre before attending a concert by the Sixteen on December 9th 2011.