I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

13 March 2006

Dear Nana —

I was just four
when you went to Heaven.
How could you leave me 
so tightened down, 
so shrunk …
so cold my air,
so strange and fogged 
my home garden
in which I wandered
every step uncertain,
missing your held hand
your warm contralto laugh?

I still remember
the songs and tales
in that haven, your lap.
How did you change
to a white lump
in the hospital —
in the high bed
where I could not reach you
and you were so silent?
I hung my head,
gave silence back.

You were Florence,
daughter of Jane
the famous beauty.
My aunts remembered her.
To me, beauty was you —
old fat woman from India.
Your long hair
brushed out for bed 
unfurled like a princess’s
all down your back.
Then you rewound it,
plaited and coiled
as your crown.

I tried to find
your big hotel
on Puri beachfront,
your life before:
the life of the stories.
I travelled all that way —
the other side of the world —
old woman myself by then.
Nana, where were you?
Without your old photos 
from the family album
I couldn’t be sure.

Hotelier, hospital matron,
young mother, wronged lover —
these I knew not.
In the apple orchard
trailed by your dogs,
and the birds lilting,
I place you forever:
in Spreyton, Tasmania.
From the cottage doorway
you smile welcome

– dear Nana.


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