you sheltered the flame
so she could pattern the night
now the sun shines through
and pierces your dark centre
while the flame sleeps
the beauty that lies in the imperfect the damaged, the broken unintentional beauty set the shadows to music what would be the tune?
small songs between breaths painted by light sung in the silence voices of star-stuff whispering
the beginning of a series of small verses inspired by the photographic prompts from 52Frames
I’ve been questioning whether to post this. But this poem, these words, helped me get through some of the most difficult days last year. They helped me stand and claim my place, they gave me hope, and helped me honour one of the most important people in my life. I’m thankful for everything I’ve learnt during all the writing I’ve done over the last few years. It gave me the ability to compose something meaningful, expressive and true to myself.
My father died in August last year. I wrote this the day after, writing into the depth of night until it was finished.
I wanted to say something at his funeral, but had so little time to prepare. So I drew from a couple of earlier pieces just to get started, then continued to create something new and special just for him.
When it came time to read it at the funeral the next day, I shifted from feeling nervous, to feeling strangely calm and almost confident. I could feel the silence in the room, the quiet attention. It was afterwards when the hearse drove away that I felt that falling feeling, the sense that you could collapse onto your knees and wail. Perhaps if I was somewhere else on my own, I would have done just that, pressed my hands down flat and keened into the earth. But the concrete entrance to the funeral home wasn’t the right place.
I keep having this sense that there is some symbolic ritual that needs to take place. I don’t know what it is, and it hasn’t happened yet. I thought there might be a sign, something that would suggest what I need to do. Perhaps a dream, but in fact, I lost the ability to dream for months. They’re back now, but he hasn’t appeared.
I’m thinking that I need to stop waiting for a sign. He came to me once, many years ago, and I treasure the fact that he re-entered my life. Perhaps this time, I need to come to him, find him somewhere in the bush, in a river, in a garden. I’ll speak to him and thank him for his love. Perhaps then he will visit in a dream, perhaps he needs to feel invited.
you apologised for things not working out
between yourself and my mother
but you are not the one who left
you did not leave me
I was taken
you said you never knew there was anything wrong
there were never any arguments
but this is the way she was
she expected you to know
she passed judgement
she wanted to be right
you gave me enough love in those first few short years
that I always knew, somewhere deep, what love could be
this quiet gentle thing
a hand held to stop me from falling
there is a photo of us
you look so tall
and I am tiny
and there’s a memory I have
of running through green, green grass
I’m sure I was running to you