“She gave us this gift from back home” Understanding they are good neighbours, friends even. But what her voice and her skin do not say is she left this home her country 40 years past. There is no forgetting. She cooks one way one day and the other the next, speaks to her children in the language for them to access the knowledge, the culture. They learn the major tongue elsewhere. Uprooted at six months old he lived here for forty years. What his voice does not say he tells strangers willingly: “I am from there” he smiles and chooses to remember. He tells stories and asks for them, visits landmarks with his children. Did they laugh in school at his name, at his parents' voice, until he owned them? “Not from here, different” some say, some whisper. What does it take to be accepted or tolerated? What does it take to not be? A voice, a skin, a remembrance of identity – food, people, places, customs? Blend in some cannot, would they want it or not, a mixture made over time they have a foot over some line, drawn with changing references it forgets history and choices.
I live by an old cemetery with a few sandstones amongst the trees, and some new marble ones at the back.
For a long time, I have been afraid that I or my child may be swallowed in our morbid days by this sight, by our fear of death.
But fear of death is only fear of the unknown and fear of change, it is no evil but what we make.
These graves are Death Happened, but also Lives Lived!
How many were short, or lain not to be regretted?
The stones, the words, the few flowers say: however long they were there, here lay people who mattered.
It shines in the darkness, by the shadow of the sun in the trees, by the light of the moon on the grass:
Death is a life lived to the end. These graves are lives loved.
A poem I wrote this week. Thanks for reading!
The little things
Fall in love and live merrily, until
the bells ring and you sing
on the most beautiful day of your life!
A book’s ending, it is the beginning.
You hope, and days add on.
You move, and you choose
a house for your budget, a present for each muppet,
year, after year, after year,
while they grow old far away from where you are.
You wait, and days add on.
A wonder, a miracle!
A new life enters yours in tears and joy,
as they start dying of old age
and others divide their lives’ worth.
You live, and days add on.
You fight to agree over main and silly.
“Compromise” is a word with a new meaning and
“lovers’ love” loses its standing
in those busy days filled with laughs and fear.
You age, and days add on.
They eat at your soul those days.
Little by little, they feed on hope
leaving fatigue in their wake.
Dreams slowly vanish, sorrow becomes childish.
And yet… Yet!
You try, and days add on.
It’s been a few weeks and a few boxes for our coming change of home and country 😉
Something that is bugging me is that I keep wondering how we could tell our 19 months old son that we will be moving. Everybody I’ve been talking to seem to think that he won’t mind, as long as he is with us. But he looks really happy here, and even after a month of summer holidays, he still remembered where everything was, the books, the switches and the TV and how it worked. We have no way of knowing what he will think and feel and we can’t explain what is going on. I’d really love to be able to promise that we won’t be moving again and that the next house, or at least the area, will be the one where we will stay for him to grow up and make friends. I’d love that but we’ll have to see, I find it difficult to imagine us settling anywhere, really.
Because we are leaving soon, I thought I would post this poem written some time ago on the subject:
Some months and years ago we left
friends and family, we could not stay;
and going there sometimes we ache;
there was our Home, of which bereft
we will now be, always at bay.
Perceived by most as mad or brave,
we went like Cartier in his days;
recalling home, eager to make,
from then to forth, from breath to grave,
a side-way path with self-found ways.
So little time, so much to see,
still we settled – bills must be paid;
learned the culture, what we could take,
learned the language, the history;
in which tongue will our children play?
Here is our Home, and where we bide,
blending with years as odd mixtures,
we may ponder at our lives’ wake;
longing, and thrilled, we went, we tried!
Becoming for ever strangers…
They chit-chat around me;
Believe that it is company, think that I cannot follow
because of the lines they see;
Surely I do not know
of modern seas, of modern lives,
I am close to the last and slow;
But were they to look into my eyes,
they would see me run under the rain and in the snow;
Hold, in the night, endless talks,
mirthful dances to the morrow;
They would know the lies, the truths, the games and the tricks,
the tears and the laughs, the babbles, and the blow
of age. I used to; now I remember. Looking in the mirror is a face I do not recognize
stroked by hands I do not know;
I do not run for it hurts, I do not travel for it costs and tires;
Polite, I do not engage unless pitifully asked; it is to show
respect to let the ancient talk; it is the order of things to have days boring me,
like a million feathers – or so they told me.
Again two poems that I wrote a few years ago, this time on the subject of writing. The first one is the first that I wrote (took me a bit of time!) when I started writing poems again after I’d stopped during my studies. They’re a bit old-fashioned in their style and the second one is a bit too simple for my current taste, but I still like their content and meaning 🙂
To live life without torment, without fear,
I put aside the risky and the queer;
No dark alleys and no drinking,
No broken men and no writing –
But fear has come and distress will;
Fear of sicknesses, fear of violences,
Fear of future pains for future losses;
Helpless I wait, dread and stay still –
Lying as wood when one should stand,
Makes a coward as decades blend,
Skin-deep sinks in a bitter smell of fright,
A trail I hope to wash, now that I write.
Reasons to write
If you were to become famous
Alive; what value would it have?
A nicer house maybe you’d have,
Prouder, richer than all of us,
But would you be really happy?
For some say that fame and money
Are there to entertain only,
No lights when you’re sad and lonely,
(Well, this is not completely true)
No knights against Fear and Worry,
So live, enjoy, and stop thinking,
Stop worrying, go on writing
For yourself and yourself only.
Until maybe, maybe, one day,
Someone from his own library,
Will grab inches of ivory,
Hand them to a dear one and say:
I read this book and thought of you,
I’m sure that you will love it too.
Two short poems that I wrote some time ago thinking of my husband. I know they’re not the best but even after a few years since I wrote them they still ring true 🙂
You cannot see what I look for
Sometimes in life, in words, and more,
And I agree, I do not cook,
Instead I know, I’ll read a book!
So how can we be together
A pair for life like no other?
Though it is true, maybe we’re not,
Maybe a pair, but for life not?
Did I discard, along our way,
Pieces of me so holes may stay?
Or was I lost without knowing,
Before you came, with bits missing?
The holes were filled while time went by,
Their shapes still hold, their borders cry,
Seeing you fade, or go, or die,
Visions of grief in my mind’s eye;
And there I know this simple truth:
You cannot go and leave me loose;
For there’d not be, these pieces gone,
Enough of me to carry on.
He keeps life light for me,
A bit less cynical,
A bit less dark,
And slightly more hopeful
That my life is special;
Him gone, all is empty;
Frozen, stunned by longing,
Crying, I ache
For a time with meaning,
All is reminding me;
“Try to sleep, honeybee,
I am here in your cells,
And will be back
To confirm your struggles,
The choices made for me.”
“Go to bed” he tells me
On the phone, but alone,
Wait to awake,
Not bleeding and not torn,
And the bed not empty.
Wait for Home to find me,
And objects their value,
Estranged, they bark,
We are halves, we need two!
We are halves, just like you!