Back From the West

On the 1st of October.
Back thru’ the back streets and roads I once knew.
Honest: they spot me,
And point and shout over…
But these aren’t the places or people I knew.

Soon seas of grey skies
Roll in and roll over!
Soon loud street parties, of glam, roll in view.
Leaving me breathless –
Just like I remember –
Still trying to banish the old,
With the new.

I feel the difference:
Like I’m not a member.
Like my place out here, is now up for review.
The sun will soon burn up
These clouds of the winter.
Yes, I’m waiting here for the great sky to blue!

From the mouths of babes

Plastic dolls

My daughter’s dolls have got no clothes
I’m trying not to freak
And when I ask her why
She smiles
and makes the wretches speak

I do not like the clothes I have
They really ain’t for me
OK I say to placate her (them?)
Yet she continues this ventriloquy

It’s all the pink and gold she pines
I don’t like it never have
It’s what they sell in the shops I share
Well they should sell more choice – she says – Daaaaad!

 

The Uprisen

Stańczyk by Jan Matejko (1862)

Stańczyk by Jan Matejko (1862)

I’m revolting in our kitchen
I will not wash another cup
Nary the bins are emptied
And I care not who’s turning up

In the toilet I’m revolting
You can guess the seat stays raised
A growing ring of gloomy grey
Entombs the tub in waves

The floor of our thru-diner
Is an irksome furry muck
For I’ve revolted against the oppressive regime
That bids I vacuum up

Window’s streak with weeks of grime
The laundry mountain hums
Shadows stretch from coves
– such as spiders hide –
Yet I’m sticking to my guns

Once in a while love stands the test
Resists worldly weights and… sails
Yet sometimes – oft noticed far too late –
Once in a while love fails

So leave me to my misery
Let this dirt I foster bloom
You Watch your ‘Bake Off’ finally
I’ll sulk, revolting,
in some dark room

Shadows

A dark knock loiters out my door
I can’t tell what it’s waiting for

Somedays I catch it catch it’s breath
Somedays I brood on where we met

One night it rested on the wood
That shadow scarred like no claw could

And in the warmth of this close home
Wrapped deep in folds of family down

My burning ears and itching hands
Breathe deep, fold down and make a stand

 

Cranky Old Man

Having been duped by a touching ‘story’ with a fantastic poem at it’s heart, I made further investigations and found, what I think is, the original source of that poem. It has captivated me so is my first pressing of someone else’s work.

The original version of the poem:

Crabbit Old Woman

What do you see, nurses what do you see
Are you thinking when you are looking at me
A crabbit old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes,
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice –I do wish you’d try
Who seems not to notice the things that you do
And for ever is losing a stocking or shoe,
Who unresisting or not, lets you do as you will
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill
Is that what you are thinking, is that what you see,
Then open your eyes, nurses, you’re not looking at me.

816px-Elderly_Woman_,_B&W_image_by_Chalmers_Butterfield

Photo by Chalmers Butterfield

I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
As I used at your bidding, as I eat at your will,
I am a small child of ten with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters who love one another,
A young girl of 16 with wings on her feet
Dreaming that soon now a lover she’ll meet;
A bride at 20 – my heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep
At 25 now I have young of my own
Who need me to build a secure, happy home;
A women of 30 my young now grow fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last,
At 40 my young sons have grown and are gone;
But my man’s beside me to see I don’t mourn;
At 50, once more babies play around my knee.
Again we know children, my loved one me
Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead,
I look at the future, I shudder with dread,
For my young are all rearing young of their own
And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known.

I’m an old woman now and nature is cruel
’tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body it crumbles, grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone where once was a heart
But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells
And now and again my battered heart swells
I remember the joys I remember the pain,
And I’m loving and living life over again.
I think of the years all too few – gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, nurses open and see
Not a crabbit old women look closer – see me.

Phyllis McCormack, 1966

*

Amazing right!

It has, apparently long been circulated online as some remnant of a forgotten life of presumed little value, found by nursing staff checking a checked-out patients belongings… However the true history and author are explained via http://www.hoax-slayer.com/cranky-old-man-poem.shtml.

 

One More Song

One tiny verse
sung tight-lipped,
as it all gets worse.

Lost the bounce,
gave spring away –
Time tears at my eyes
and squeezes my day.

Thoughts pound my brain,
old thoughts; so sad
as still I clasp
at lives I’ve had.

Short painful routes
are all I see:
They scream my name
to recapture me.

Still the light dances
just out of my reach
so I follow the shadows
that lead from the beach.