Archive for November, 2011

Memories Arrive Unbidden

Posted in Poetry with tags , , on November 29, 2011 by belfastdavid

I spoke to my son today
and thought of you.

It was not so much increasing age, infirmity,
which diminished your later years,
rather the impact of two cancer operations:
you moved past the first well, I think,
but when they had to go in again
having botched some aspect of the first,
then, despite it being physically successful,
some inner part of you died in the process.

You never told us, your four sons,
what you were going through –
that would not have been your style:
and would we have been there had you asked?
I like to think so but I’m not sure;
we had all long since moved away,
built different lives in different places.

You told me once when I went back into a marriage
that you had hoped I would have more time for you.
I did not understand
the significance then.

There was only one man in your life – my father:
he was taken from you far too early
but a replacement was never an option.
He left you in straitened circumstances
and with four sons to bring up.
We never knew then either what you
had to go through – you protected us from that;
rebuilt your life, our lives,
and made yourself a new career.

You were an impressive woman;
brought up in rural Ireland,
forced to emigrate to Canada
by the religious bigots of your day.

You told us about
sitting on the stairs
reading a book
whilst people packed,
unpacked around you.

You must have inherited your
determination from your father
who took his family there,
then brought them back
and built a business
from scratch in a new location.

You went to university –  got a degree
long before it was a norm for women to do that;
were clearly in love with my father;
I have seen photographs from early days;
some of them still hang on my walls.

Yet in the aftermath of that second operation
you retreated to a place
seemingly populated by voices
which said you were a failure.
You would not be told different.

We struggled to find you,
to draw you out;
but the only person who seemed
able to reach was my younger son;
you brightened up in his presence,
told him things the rest of us
had never been privileged to hear.

You have left us now and yet
your memory and my regret linger on.

But I have only to watch my son
engrossed in a book, even on Kindle,
to know your spirit lives on in him.

I am a human being

Posted in Poetry with tags , on November 25, 2011 by belfastdavid

I am not a human doing.
I am a human being.

And yet I have spent acres
Of time digging about in
The detritus of my life
Trying to find the real me.

I thought I needed to know.
I thought I needed to do.
I actually needed to now.
I actually needed to be.

I am not a human – doing.
I am a human – BEING.

Looking for Alice

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , on November 19, 2011 by belfastdavid

“That’s the hole” I said “Just there.”
Police Constable Brown
looked at me sceptically.
“She ran in, then disappeared” I said.
He looked at me again.

Perhaps it would be best, I thought,
if I do not mention the White Rabbit.

Poetry Workshop

Posted in Poetry with tags , on November 17, 2011 by belfastdavid

I am required
to take a poem,
two poems actually,
to a poetry
editing workshop;
two poems
which I am prepared
to have dissected,
torn apart, criticised
and turned into
something else;
a David Tait poem
perchance.

So I will not take
my babies;
those precious,
heartfelt, fragile
poems from which
I cannot divorce
my inner self.
And yet they too
merit the application
of a critical eye,
but can I allow myself
to feel the pain?
I fear that I might cry.

A Poem without Words

Posted in Poetry with tags , , on November 15, 2011 by belfastdavid

Time Passes Faster

Posted in Poetry with tags on November 10, 2011 by belfastdavid

One morning you wake up,
look at the calendar,
think bloody hell
it’s nearly Christmas,
better get my act together.

Then you think
how did that happen,
how did it creep up so fast,
where has the last year gone
and what did I do with it?

I dig out my diary,
go through it backwards
to check what things
the year contained
and what I have done,

go look in the mirror
to check that I exist,
get out a post-it note
write on it ‘ Your Name is David’
and stick it above my mirror.

Seasons in the City

Posted in Poetry with tags , , on November 7, 2011 by belfastdavid

I stand on my balcony
gladdened by the sight
of leaves losing their green,

being replaced by yellow,
orange, brown, even black.
There is sadness too

for soon they will fall;
leaving me exposed to a view
of unrelenting blocks of flats.

Autumn is here:

The Lady Boys of Bangkok
have arrived in Millennium Square.
I meet a friend for coffee

who wants to know when
the Lady Boys will be
replaced by the Germans:

it is one of her traditions
to bring her husband and son
to the Christmas Market

and early in the New Year
the outdoor skating rink
will appear in the Square,

whether a sign of winter
or a bringer of spring
it is difficult to say.

But, for me, I will know
winter is here when the rink
is forced to close for the day.

Snow is falling on the ice.