Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Under Glass | A Poem




Dear friends under glass,
You bear witness to stories told
From both sides of the Shannon,
Mainly the East for the
Time being,
As you would have it -
If you would have it;

I am not the same spirit of
Last winter,
Just made from a different air
That allows wind to swell and slip
Through tight corners of
Time and tidal waves
With more ease.

Someone flew to and from Germany,
And if they are back on home soil
I am afraid it wouldn't make 
Any odds to me.
Another village soul brought charm
To an otherwise dreary summer
Yet still managed to hide behind
A veil of suspicion come September -
Like a playwright scrambling words
For an inconclusive Act to the drama
And God help him if he bumps
Into me in Eurospar.

My friends under glass,
These names can fly in and out
As easily as the clock strikes 12 twice daily,
They do not stick,
They do not linger,
But you manage to,
We will not move your place from
The mantlepiece or hallway walls
Or the shelf of smiles by the
Front door.

Spring brings new growth, surely?
Let those withered brambles do away with
Themselves,
I had not been home in four months;
Umpteen hellos and inquiries of life's 
General fashion of passing -
It had been 13 years since I smelt
Lilies as strong as these
A child before -
A woman now.

There in the porch, he lay
Bead-covered hands wrapped
On top of a navy tailored suit
Hands of my grandfather that;
Drove trains in Birmingham,
Cut turf every May,
Sifted through cards in a game of 25,
Curled around the steering wheel of his
Volkswagon Polo to pick me up
From school.

A strong man,
A good man he was,
Our John.

What is life?
Is it an unknown act or art of progression?
Because even if one tries to quietly
Sit in a corner of Vicar Steet,
You may still receive three
Standing ovations,
As president.

But you will have the eternal love
Of your children,
As The King,
Even if you struggled to remember
Their names towards the 
Finishing line,
When the curtains draped over on
A life lived,

As you join my dear friends
Under glass. 


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