How Quickly We Become the Past.

How quickly we become the past.
So many things we thought would last
hang, half forgotten, in the air-
so vivid and yet barely there.

The scent of tall geraniums
on a fly blown window sill.
The engraved surface
of a warm sixpence
clutched tightly in my hand.
The sound of voices,
singing their way home.
The colours dancing
in an open fire.
A blue dress with daisies.

Sitting in an old black Vauxhall
outside a beer sodden pub.
Singing wide eyed hymns
about fights and battles
from a tattered roll.
Stretching out my splayed fingers
to pop a shimmering bubble.
Watching scattered raindrops
as they race down a window.
I’d love a Babycham.

How quickly we become the past.
So many things we thought would last
hang, half forgotten, in the air-
so vivid and yet barely there.

Moments when we realise
that the world has turned
without us noticing.
Fragments of a time
which has been discarded
littering our days.

We blink at the unfamiliar,
tripped up by the sight of an eyebrow,
the emptiness inside a closed shop,
a space where a tree once was.
We have become strangers
in a world that has been changed by stealth.
Little by little the dust has settled over us.
We have been stripped bare,
set aside, but still here.

How quickly we become the past.
So many things we thought would last
hang, half forgotten, in the air-
so vivid and yet barely there.

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Sea Fret 3.

We walk in shadows,
flitting in and out of the light,
half seen by a pale white sun,
half known, misunderstood.
Faint wanderers.
Going nowhere.

We have stumbled
into a a chilled grey world,
a place of clinging secrets,
where unseen waves turn.
We walk among distant possibilities,
a mystery, even to ourselves.

I look up into the soft sky,
and examine the shades of grey
as they sharpen and fade,
begging for a burst of blue,
a blaze of light,
and life restored.

So close.
So far away.

Shards of remembrance.

Each time we remember,
we remake.
Each time we drift back,
we renew.
We are fragile,
like glass.

My childhood lies
broken around my bare feet,
clouded with dust,
shattered by time.
Jagged windows
which lead me back,
teasing out lost thoughts,
showing me myself,
reflecting me home.

Tiny diamond splinters,
shards of remembrance,
sink into my soft skin,
cutting, needling,
glinting in the past.
Some things are gone.
Only their brightness remains.
Familiar, forgotten moments
which fit together,
indistinct, incomplete.
Telling me lies,
even as they record the truth.
Was I really there?
Did I really see?
I hold each piece up to the light,
polishing it with my breath,
paying it attention,
allowing it to shine.

Each time we remember,
we remake.
Each time we drift back,
we renew.
We are fragile,
like glass.

Borrowed time.

There is a change in the air.
The soft, searching call of a dove
hangs in the damp morning
alongside the scent of mown grass,
grieving the last cut of the year.
The light is creeping away.
The children are gone.

There is no autumn beauty yet,
no falling leaves,
no firelight,
no songs.
Later the day will pull itself together,
take heart, and warm up
as though nothing has happened,
but we know.
The countdown has started.
The clock is ticking.
We are waiting for winter.

Doors.

A door bears the lingering, silent shadow
of each person who has passed through it.
A presence worn too deep to gloss away,
bled into the grain of the wood.

A door still feels the hand of each person
who ran a finger along its edge,
turned a knob or slipped through an opening
into the freedom of an empty space.

A door remembers slams, shouts and tears.
It holds a memory of each person who walked through it
looking back with reluctance, hiding fears.
A door bears scars.

A door remembers hushed spaces, secret meetings,
quiet giggles, passion and privacy.
It says nothing and sees everything.
A closed door is blind.

A door remembers running children filled with laughter,
times which never thought to end.
The happiness of a frozen moment, the scent of forgiveness,
the voice of a friend.

An open door holds a space where many wishes cross.
It is a place of challenges, of loss and gain,
a chronicle of coming and goings, sharp regrets,
and promises to people who are never seen again.

Shadows on the Door. Jiro Takamatsu. 1968. Installed at the Henry Moore Institute. Leeds.

Shadows on the Door. Jiro Takamatsu. 1968. Installed at the Henry Moore Institute. Leeds.

 

 

The Boxing Days.

I remember the Boxing Days.
The angel cake, the sausage rolls,
the tinned salmon sandwiches.
The coats piled on the bed.
The jelly that I didn’t eat.
The Babycham.

I remember going down the club,
the awful singing, the bingo, the corny jokes.
Our Ann being told not to drink so fast.
The feel of my gran’s crimplene dress
as we danced the Valeta and the St Bernard’s waltz,
sticking out our arms and stamping our feet.

I remember two ball, against a wall,
keeping rhythm and playing jacks,
racing snails and buying penny sweets.
Sitting on a gate, all afternoon,
writing car numbers in a book.
Making patterns with clapping hands.

I remember getting stuck in the coal shed.
Sharing a bed with my cousin-
giggling together late at night.
Watching the women do their hair
with setting lotion and curlers.
Going home on the bus.

I remember sleeping on the back seat
of the old black Vauxhall with nets in the roof
and indicators that flipped out.
Sitting obediently on newspaper
and still being sick half way up Garrowby.
Every time.

I remember the whistle of the seven o’clock train,
rain on the caravan roof,
and flaring gas mantles,
a silly song about piggies
and running to the camp shop
to pick up a summer special.

Those days have gone now,
as days do………….
but I remember.