Words under pressure #22

We’re back, a day earlier than expected, but I couldn’t face another night away.

So teeth were gritted, pedal was pushed to metal, pillows were plumped, and off we set. Things were not good for several sections of the journey, and least of all when we finally got home. But everything is much better now.

Home at last

Here I lie,
clean, comfortable, clothed
in soft and waistless lawn
baby-scented, still…

Here lie I
like one laid neatly out
for the coffin-maker’s
invisible art.

All aligned:
head, shoulders, waist and hips
knees and ankles wide spaced
all ruler straight

But sideways!
My burning, punished spine
ratcheted ever tighter –
unloaded after

Days of bumps,
bangs, bends, by beds enforced
winds down like clockwork –
lies level at last.

On my side
nose gratefully buried
in softest old cotton, forehead
finally uncreased.

Words under Pressure #21

It’s been a while since my internal Words under Pressure made their insistent way out into some sort of form.

Up to now, I’ve been busy, contented, creative and only moderately decrepit for a woman of my years and past history. The last 6 weeks, however, have forced me to reconsider many things in my life, and this piece of poetry reflects the sadness and sometimes bitterness of some decisions I’ve had to make recently. Many things I’d hoped and planned for will never happen now. Freedoms I’ve taken for granted are no longer there. Certain actions have Keep Out signs posted on them, for my own safety. I don’t take happily to this change, although those shining constants in my life without which I cannot live are still safely with me, unaffected and of great consolation.

Here we go, then.

Byzantium falls

I am a city under siege.
The ramparts built to last
A thousand years now crumble;
Trees grow atop my walls.

My great donjon sways,
Its foundations sapped,
Its fabric bitten by
The winds of time.

The glorious fortress falls,
Imperceptibly; and slow,
Inexorable and bleak
The soft decay to dust.

The palaces I built
Inside this fortress of my mind
Are gone, those shining
Monuments to glory.

So too the temples,
To beauty, health, ambition –
All gone, lost, ransacked.
Marauders passed this way.

My gardens are a waste
Sown with salt and regret.
Sunlit, dappled courts
Now home to shadows.

There is still a faded trace
of Byzantium’s years of glory;
An echo of what was
And will never be again.

I live as a ghost in my own ruins
And watch my bitter dust,
The slow sift of my fabric,
Down the shafts of sunlight.

When I wrote this, I was feeling sad, resentful and sorry for myself. Normal service has now resumed and my natural optimism has reasserted itself. I’m never allowed to grump for long, in any case; there’s too much that’s still great about life to enjoy out there. Like chocolate, and flowers, and friends, and pretty things to draw and sew…  🙂

Words under Pressure #18

For many, perhaps most of you out there reading this blog, Spring is coming, a welcome relief from arduous weather conditions and the start of gentler things. For me, Autumn is on the way, offering its own relief as the weather moderates, cyclone season passes, and cool mornings remind me of my childhood.

Screen shot 2014-11-24 at 5.05.17 PM6.00am

Do you know that rush
Of powerful, heady happiness
You get on mornings in Spring,
When your blood is green?

Do you know the singing
That lifts the top of your head,
The scent of sunlight,
Prompting unreasonable joy?

Do you feel the miracle
Of daybreak, after good sleep,
And your skin fits –
Though your heart is the size of the world?

I am older now, but I still long
To run like the child I was
In the hill’s blowing grass,
Clean, whole and hopeful.

I hope Spring comes soon for you all…

Words under Pressure: Ageing

Another blogger, Karen Ellis, liked a previous post. I took a look at her blog. She had a fascinating short movie embedded, showing a young girl ageing slowly before our eyes. She asked for thoughts and comments on the ageing process.  Here’s something I wrote about 10 years ago.  I thought I was getting old then.  Boy, was I wrong.  NOW I’m old. Sort of.  Well, anyway, these are my thoughts on ageing:

Once, when I was young,
Life left no mark upon my face.
Control and excess alike
Put no thumbprint on me.

When I was young,
My mind had the same resilience.
Passion and grief came … and passed.
Every day was new.

Now I am older,
And all things leave their mark,
And I am glad.
The faces of the young are all the same.

Let me show you how I have lived.
Read it in my face,
See the shadows it has left,
And the shadows it has not.

See for yourself
That I have mostly lived in laughter.
See also that I know pain
And have encompassed both.

And now I see in the mirror
The face of my mother.
And though she is long gone
I comprehend what made her.

Individuals are all
The sum of their experiences.
Why would I surrender mine
For a face like an unwritten page?

Thank you, Karen Ellis, for prompting me to dig this out.  I still like it, 10 years on.

Below: photos of me at 25, and today. The ageing process is interesting, don’t you think?

Me, at 25 Me. 2013

Damn, I had good eyebrows then.  Lost them to chemotherapy, never grew back properly.  Apart from that, I’m happy with what time has done to me and for me.  I’m happy to age.