Tag Archives: loss

August

 

The distant hills, patched dusty green and gold,

Dissolve and ripple in the evening haze,

And rivers trace a winding azure web

Through sunlit fields where lazy cattle graze.

 

Just here, knee deep in waving meadow grass,

The sinking sun still warm against my cheek,

A sighing ash disturbs the heavy hush.

My heart stands still. I’d swear I heard you speak.

 

I lie down under weeping willow boughs,

Where clouds of midges dance against the blue,

And close my eyes to ease my memory

Back to that short, hot summer spent with you.

 

Now interfering sight is out of mind,

My other senses exercise their skill,

Conspire against my crashed and burned-out heart

To make believe you’re lying with me still.

 

The feathered grass that strokes my goosebumped skin

Mimics your restless touch – a callous plot!

The gentle breeze that plays across my lips

Becomes your breath, so tender, sweet and hot.

 

The soothing swish of branches in the wind

Echoes your urgent whisper in my ear,

That everything you’ll ever need in life,

Is everything you have right now, right here.

 

But everything I gave was not enough

To tame the wayward fire of your love.

And now the chill of nightfall closes in,

While drifts of stars dust indigo above.

 

The distant hills, washed dusky grey and mauve,

Smudge out to shadows now, as darkness grows,

And rivers trace a glinting silver web,

Through moonlit fields where drowsy cattle doze.

 

While shards of your deception stab me still,

Our supernova joy explodes the pain.

And even though I sit at wisdom’s feet,

If you stood here, I’d rise, and fall again.

 

(C) Helen Lewis, 2004


The prize

Gladys couldn’t recall ever having won anything before, and now a nice young man from the local radio station was on the telephone, informing her that she’d won first prize in that month’s phone-in astronomy competition.

Gladys first discovered astronomy at the age of eight. Her brother was given a telescope for his tenth birthday, but soon lost interest. One frosty night during the blackout, a bored Gladys casually pointed the telescope at the moon and ignited a lifelong passion.

She hadn’t had a telescope for quite some time. Apart from any other considerations, she now lived in a one-bedroomed flat and she would have spent all her time tripping over it.

As soon as the young man hung up she realised she’d forgotten to ask what the prize was. No matter; it was being delivered tomorrow and she’d find out soon enough.

As usual, Bella started barking just before the doorbell rang.

“Where do you want the telescope?” asked the courier.

Gladys stood impassively for a moment, and then put her hands to her face to wipe away the tears that were beginning to stream down it. The courier placed his arm around her shoulder and helped her onto the hall chair.

“Why are you crying, love? Don’t you like it?”

“No, I love it,” sniffed Gladys. “I couldn’t have asked for a better prize.”

“What’s the matter, then?” the courier asked.

So Gladys told him, while Bella the guide dog gently nuzzled her tear-salted hands.

 

(c) Helen Lewis  2004


Running out

My car ran out of petrol at the lights.

It coughed and died. I didn’t see the red

light flashing on the dash. I had to shove

it off the road and call the R.A.C.                         

 

The cartridge in my printer’s drying up.

The pages that it prints are bleached-bone white

with just a ghost of ink. I have to hold

them to the light and squint my eyes to see.

 

And when I went to check the fridge last night

I found it empty as a Pharaoh’s tomb

ransacked by thieves. The automatic light

lit up the void below, around, above.

 

I woke today to find I cannot write.

It feels a lot like falling out of love.

 

© Helen Lewis 2006


Eclipse

I thought I was prepared but I was wrong.

Sir Isaac’s calculations can’t predict

my punctured breath, the blackbird’s broken song.

 

This Midwich Cuckoo of a night has pricked

the watchful eyes of ancestors long dead

Sir Isaac’s calculations can’t predict.

 

A magic lantern show plays overhead

reflected in the bonnet of my car

the watchful eyes of ancestors long dead.

 

A tiny lump of rock obscures a star

to leave me moonblind, seeing nothing more

reflected in the bonnet of my car.

 

This world’s a sand grain on an endless shore.

The little things still take me by surprise

to leave me moonblind, seeing nothing more.

 

And now the moon of loss blacks out my skies.

I thought I was prepared but I was wrong.

The little things still take me by surprise:

my punctured breath, the blackbird’s broken song.

 

© Helen Lewis 2009


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