Writer's retreat

Writer's retreat

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Poems from 2008

In June 2008, one of the items for Solihull Writers Workshop was a considered poetry evening. We provided copies of one of more poems to each member of the group for them to read and provide a critique during the following meeting.

The first poem is an addition to a collection I wrote around death and bereavement. This poem is about loss of a different kind. Sometimes I work with organisations who support people with brain injuries and their families. The last verse was taken from comments made by a brain injury sufferer at a workshop I ran in London on Coping with Loss.

Sometimes when I feel a poem coming on, I let my pen run away with me. I used to do this a lot as a teenager, less frequently now. This was how the second poem was born. I was possibly imagining a scene from the televised versions of Cranford or Lark Rise to Candleford, with Tinker's Squeezebox frightening the chickens and elderly parishoners feeling the urge to dance coursing through their limbs.

After the event
Mirror, mirror hanging there
You show a face, a face so fair
But though the eyes are shining bright
The world behind has lost its light
I cannot see
The person
Who once

A stranger stands before you now
With different speech and thoughts that go
Around my head in different ways
I never thought
I could have changed
So fast

Now I scan the camera views
Of people whom they tell me knew
My former self
They look confused and wonder why
I cannot look them in the eye
With smiling familiarity
All strangers now
To the new

I still have thoughts and hopes and fears
My heart still beats, I still shed tears
And if I don’t remember you
Forget the past and think anew
Of what I can still be and do
A different me
A future new

And when we sit and drink our tea
I beg you, please don’t cry
And say how much you miss me.
I’m here,
Beside you
Still here
Not gone
I’m me.

Will you dance?
Will you dance with me again?
My legs are sore and buckle
In the breeze

But will you dance?
I hear a fiddler on the green
Mark out the tune

A squeezebox stirs
Coughing its melody
As chickens fly

Will you dance with me again?
I see hawthorn draped
Across the rose

Summer calls and I must follow
Follow, follow
Down the lane.

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