There was a verse I never dared to write,
My love, O my poor lost love,
When first we met so many years ago.
I gave you verses then, of love, of hope,
Voicing our joy as we discovered love
Rejoicing in each new gift as we unwrapped our presents
As we unwrapped each other, body, heart and soul
And the words of that verse, a spectre at the feast,
Nudged into my consciousness
Giving me their first line
And I banished them.
Now they return, an echo of that time
And they are more insistent now, demanding to be voiced
Pressing me to pen a poem I vowed that I would never write.
Demanding birth no matter what the cost.
Enough! Begone! I will defer you yet
Making your first my last line, Verse of Doom.
And you, my love, do you remember? can you remember then?
When yesterday is blurred, this morning now uncertain.
When Time itself plays tricks
And empty memory tracks fill with confabulation
And you turn to me and say, so confidentially.
“Harry will be in in a moment.”
And I am Harry.
And I help the little old lady cross the street
And she is you.
As I do up your buttons and cook your tea
I weep inwardly, remembering she who cared so well for me
And wonder where she has gone
Withdrawn into some dark recess,
Lost in a maze where all the words are wrong.
And I have learned new skills and studied hard
To cope where coping is the best that I can hope
And I grieve, for grief is learning too
Learning to accept the unacceptable
Changing my reality to match reality
And watching your reality stumbling blindly away
To some lost world beyond my reach.
And now the lost verse presses back, insistent.
And I must concede and give it space at last
Voice of the past; Just the first line, it begins:
“But there will be a last time too, my darling!”
H. St.V.Beechey 1986