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')

Some of these poems are autobiographical, some are entirely fictional, and some are a mixture of both. The intention is art rather than self-expression. I don't allow factual details to get in the way of poetry! (I do seek emotional truth.) They are works in progress, and may be subject to revision without notice. Completed versions appear in my books. Nevertheless copyright applies to all texts found here. Copyright also applies to almost all photos posted here, most of which are my own, though a few are licensed under Creative Commons.
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.

18 August 2012

That Time of Night

It's that time of night
when we shut our computers
leave our offices and meet
in kitchen and living room.
The TV goes on,
the cooking begins.
At this time of year
we turn on the heater.
The cats mill about
demanding dinner.
In warmth and noise
we celebrate family.

That's how it's been
for most of twenty years —
even the last two,
when you've emerged instead
from the bedroom
following an afternoon nap.
That's how it's been
and now it's not.
Night after night you're not here.
Without you, the house
is cold and silent; even the cats
are moping and off their food.

My beloved husband, who is 83, is seriously ill in hospital. If he recovers, which is doubtful, he will have to go into permanent residential care.

Update: He has improved and will go into care tomorrow (24 Aug.). It's a good place where he will be comfortable and well looked after, but as he cannot move his own body now, it is highly unlikely he will ever come back to this home we have shared, even for a visit.

Submitted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry #111
and for dVerse Open Link Night #52


  1. Oh, this is a heartbreaking read. There is nothing that can replace that kind of emptiness either, and yes, the pets do notice the absence too.
    Heartfelt read Rosemary.

  2. So heartfelt, Rosemary, and it touches our hearts too. You and the cats must feel like you're rattling around, without him there....hopefully soon, kiddo!

  3. Rosemary, this is breaking ALL our hearts, it seems, which means it is a good write. Hard to click the "like" button because it's so sad (but I did). The daily routine, ruined by his absence. The man next door to me is awaiting his wife's return from rehab, and I've been taking him food so he'll eat right. I can see, every night, he's been crying. You're not alone. Love, Amy

  4. Rosemary, you expressed 'how it is' so well. Heartbreaking indeed. That loneliness of you and the pets is palpable in this poem. But, thank goodness for the cats, right?

  5. The human voice is divine. The absence of one can be most felt. Loneliness is compromised here with the presence of the pets, most certainly! Take care, Rosemary!


  6. Thank you, friends, for your understanding.

  7. David Niven, the filmstar, said a wise thing in one of his interviews long ago:
    "One morning you find that your first cup of tea in the morning tastes rather good again".
    I've needed that phrase and found truth in it.

  8. Just goes to show that pets can sense change as well. LOvely

  9. Such a heartbreaking write--I like the quote from Aprille--hopefully your morning tea tastes good again soon

  10. It's a measure of your love that you feel this way, that there is a difference now that he is gone. And meanwhile, you put your experience in this powerful piece that will touch so many others--including me.

  11. A very tender poem on missing someone deeply...feeling the emptiness. I don't know the circumstances but you have my heartfelt condolences for your sorrow.

  12. Yes, Aprille, that is an excellent quote! Thank you.

    My beloved husband, 83 years old, is in hospital very ill. If he does recover, which is doubtful, he will have to go into permanent residential care as I can no longer look after him adequately.

  13. i am sorry...i feel this deeply, you brought tears to my eyes...the celebrating of family and not being able to do that now...

  14. This is a heartbreaking picture. You've painted it so well...

  15. I'm so sorry. :( This really made me sad, empty, inside.

  16. I know and understand that silence. It's getting harder to fill it, the older I get. One wakes every day to new resolutions but the evening brings nostalgia and loneliness. Beautifully and expressively written. Thank you.

  17. Ah Rosemary - what a hard transition this one must be (am I correct in thinking this might be a permanent situation?) - you paint the scene so well, I feel as if I'm right there with you and the cats; would that it could be so ... but all that sort of company would just be temporary I suppose. A good, powerful poem.


  18. What a heartbreaking read. I'm so sorry you're going through all this. That kind of emptiness is so difficult.

  19. Oh dear. So hard. You write about it well and simply but very hard. k.

  20. Hopefully the cats provide a little comfort, hope he pulls through.

  21. I am sorry...a tender and sweet poem. Hugs.

  22. Will say prayers for your husband Rosemary. It isn't easy to accept the loss of his independence nor the total change happening in your lives

  23. The simplicity of the routines, the house, the everyday objects that define a life... all that against the absence, the space where someone is no longer there... so heartbreaking. I feel for you, Rosemary, as all the commenters here.

  24. brought tears to my eyes.. so sorry Rosemary.. wishing you much strength in this difficult time..you captured the emotions so well in your verse...felt...

  25. Oh Rosemary my heart goes out to you. You captured the emotions of painful transition so well. I wish you both comfort as you face this new and difficult chapter together.

  26. I deeply appreciate all your kind comments. This poem wrote itself, unbidden; I'm pleasantly surprised that you all consider it so powerful.