Written for this week’s Quadrille prompt – What’s in a word? – over at dVerse. Where Lillian prompts us to use the homographic pair of the word wound, meaning using the word twice in our 44 words Quadrille.
I opened the chest with spare linens today In it was the old blanket Puck the cat loved I must not have washed it after he passed away Because directly came Pika to sniff and purr As if drawn by years old scent Her body language telling me she wouldn’t be deterred
Later she searched all over the house and yard As if wondering where he were Demanding entry to places she’s normally barred I let her into both closet and storage shed Letting her do her futile search Knowing the longing singing in her head
It’s like when I come upon traces of my father A photo, his name in a book His old faded shirt I still have in a drawer And my heart instantly fills with that old sorrow Prompting me to search to make sense of the loss Knowing whatever I do, he won’t be there tomorrow
Now Pika and I sit gazing through the window I scratch her ear, she settles on my lap as the sun fades We both know however much the wind blows Our longing for a lost one will still be there tomorrow Ready to awaken at a sight or whiff Piercing our hearts anew like an arrow
I read the Poetics: The Print the Whales Make prompt at dVerse. And knew directly about what I would write. Even so the sorrow still hurts. But it also feels good to share it, something I was never allowed to do as a child. I first wrote “strangely feels good”, until I realized grief is something that’s supposed to be alleviated by sharing.
So instead, let me say how intensely grateful I am to finally found a way to share it, and people who don’t shy away because I do.
As so often happens with the forms I know well, I didn’t set out to write a Pantoum it just happened after I’d written the first stanza and sat wondering where to go next. Grief is a thing that changes over time, but still comes back to us again and again when reminded.
Searching for rhyming words I also learned two new ones.
Swash – the rush of seawater up the beach after the breaking of a wave.
Bight – a curve or recess in a coastline, river, or other geographical feature.
“Am 68. Live in Mexborough. Retired teacher. Artist; musician; poet. Recently included in ‘Viral Verses’ poetry volume. Married. 2 kids; 3 grandkids.”
likes drawing and painting children, animals, landscapes and food. She specialises in watercolour, mixed media, coloured pencil, lino cut and print, textile design. Jane can help you out with adobe indesign for your layout needs, photoshop and adobe illustrator. She graduated with a ba(hons) design from Glasgow School of art, age 20.
She has exhibited with the rsw at the national gallery of Scotland, SSA, Knock Castle Gallery, Glasgow Group, Paisley Art Institute, MacMillan Exhibition at Bonhams, Edinburgh, The House For An Art Lover, Pittenweem Arts Festival, Compass Gallery, The Revive Show, East Linton Art Exhibition and Strathkelvin Annual Art Exhibition.
Her website is: https://www.janecornwell.co.uk/
A dark stairwell. My cat meowing and howling in his box. The grownups swearing over the scratches they got when forcing him in. My mothers volatile mood. Grief flashing to rage, flashing to confused numbness flashing back to grief.
My aunts and uncles have strange whispering voices. Walking on eggshells. Afraid to do or say anything that reminds us. Like it’s possible to forget. Like it’s possible to step out of the endless loop of grief and confusion.
I did not understand. How could daddy just be gone forever? And who is that stranger looking out of my mother’s eyes?
Like a plucked flower A rootless child drifts astray Unseen and unloved
I’m one of those that might have opted out of this one, knowing the punch in some of my memories. Also knowing I do not have them all. Nearly everything before my fathers death, two months before my sixth birthday. And two months before my younger siblings birth. Are built up by photo albums and my mother’s stories. And those stories tended to shift over the years. Even today, if one of her children mentions a story she told us over, and over, and over again – only to be met with a blank stare and a totally new story.
Both of us have long ago lost the sense that we will ever know the truth. We have our own memories, as far back as they go. Beyond that we will never know.
And I, again, ended up with fragments so small I don’t know what the memory is about. And this memory, of the dark stairwell, in the house we’re moving out of just weeks after my father passed away.
I have no pictures of that time. But I do have this from what seems a happier time then I can remember.