Love After To Althea from Prison by Richard Lovelace, 1618-1658 I lie awake and think of you. Too much. I know that you don’t think of me at all Like a cliff thoughtless of the waterfall. I lie awake imagining your touch. “I love you”, to your receding back I call. You look at me as if I’m speaking Dutch. You look at me as if I’m speaking Dutch. I can’t help it. I’m caught within your thrall. Stone walls and bars do not a prison make So dark as this in which I prowl and pace, A prisoner of walls that all bear your face. A life sentence with no parole, no break. And still you haven’t thought of me at all Like a cliff heedless of a climber’s fall.
Only Fear It’s only fear that stops me calling you dear. It’s only the moisture In my eye that makes a tear It’s only solitude that makes me doubt It’s only Guinness that Makes me stout.
Harbingers of Doom At odd times Often when walking through the streets, I feel it is only a matter of time before the Earth bucks to unsaddle us unwanted riders from her back. It is then that the urge to hug a lamppost comes over me. I resist it. Afraid that people seeing me clinging on eyes closed will send for the men & women in white coats and that in any case lampposts are too flimsy. I would be better served to hug Uluru But that is half a vengeful world away And much too big to get my arms around.
To my Grandmother I remember you best at Eaglestone, In the farm house as it used to be. Long gone, stone and slate. The narrow strip of garden in front, with a green gate and shallow shingly soil. An alpine garden. Zen before it’s time. Inside: dusting, with a goose’s wing, the harmonium, the legless lord, his armless lady, and the dogs above the huge metal range. The brittle crack of feather and your quiet breathy whistle. Making butter in the creamery, down the cool, stone passage, with the bare electric bulb, spinning the barrel of the butter churn, then slapping blocks with wooden paddles. Spreading it thick on drop scones. Plucking chickens in the paddock as the blood dripped from hanging birds onto their uncollected heads. I remember you worst curled up like a chick in an unhatched egg. Like a dead thing which you were soon to be, covered by a single sheet, on the hospital bed. Shrivelled and tiny. I wasn’t sure that you were still in there though they said you lived. You greeted me as someone else and I tried to smile through the taste of my tears.
Seeing Dad I saw my Father this morning. Early. Too early. I was still barely awake. He didn’t bring me a cup of tea As he usually does when I’m at home. He just stood: Overweight, Balding, Weary, Unhappy. Looking at me With distaste? I wish I hadn’t seen him In the mirror.
From my Notebook on 5/4/05 This is a new book A relief after the last one Which chronicled nearly a year Of nothing I would want to remember. My breath is still short Mum is still dead. I must look to the future With hope and endeavour And try not to envy the young Their youth and the ability To shriek in public.
My Life, Your life My life is a series of questions That I have never found answers to Or only unsatisfactory ones Or good ones that I gave up looking for My life is a series of choices Ones that I didn’t make: the right ones And ones that I made: the wrong ones, That led me to this point in space-time My life is full of answers To questions no-one is asking me They are brilliant answers too: Insightful, practical and enlightening. But there’s little joy to be had from being right when no-one’s listening.
All poems ©️ John Huw Evans. If you’d like your poetry to be featured on a Sunday, in any or many languages, drop Your Editrix a line.