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.

18 January 2015

Airman

When I was just a child, the gliders flew.
I loved them: fragile-seeming, light as toys.
Straight-winged, they looked like crosses in the sky —
a sky forever sunny in my mind.

'The War,' mysterious background to my life,
was spoken of, but did not happen here —
except for absent fathers, rationed food,
and handsome Air Force visitors in blue.

Once, when Dad was home again, we passed
a man who hitch-hiked, in a uniform.
My father muttered, 'Yank!' and speeded up.
Our wind-rush sent him sprawling on the grass.

(The war was over then, but some not yet
returned across the wide Pacific, home.)
Old lady now, I still see startled face
with big blue eyes and thick black hair cut neat.

What things, and why, impress us in our youth?
Those random threads grew long and strong, to be
fast-woven in the pattern of my fate
in ways that no-one could have seen or told.

Much later, my first love was Air Force too.
A thrilling summer holiday romance,
it lasted after summer's end when he,
returned to base, wrote letters. I replied.

But words on paper can't compare with touch.
His name was John, his hair was thick and black.
His hands were lean and strong. On summer nights 
he taught me passion, and he taught me well.

We spoke of marriage. I was just nineteen.
He was nine years older, drank too much.
As well, he was, like all his family
a Catholic — while I could not believe.

His father told him that we wouldn't suit.
He saw that it was true; I didn't, then.
We married others in the end — I soon,
and much mistakenly, but learned and grew.

I did it better next time, and the next.
He, sobered, waited; married only once.
For him, of course, it had to be for life.
I heard he married happily. I'm glad.

I thank his father now for saving us,
and leaving me with kindly memories.
I never saw him afterwards. He stays
forever young, the handsomest of men.

5/11/05 - 19/1/15




















I found this in my 'Drafts for Reworking' file and decided it was working after all. I hope you agree! (Upon reflection, changed just two words.)

Linking to Poets United's 'Poetry Pantry' #235

29 comments:

  1. Love! I still love eveyone I loved, and the images and details are as vivid and visceral as in your poem.

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  2. I really like the details in this poem, Rosemary. And I also have some memories of times in my 'youth' that are intact just as they are. Nothing changed. Perhaps a bit romanticized with time, but that's okay. And I am glad that your young love ended up happy....and that you did too.

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  3. Oh so poignant, those young impossible loves that we remember forever......he was handsome.......I am glad he married happily. And that you did, too, eventually. I loved this poem, Rosemary and relate to it so much.

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  4. It's true about memories of love, I still love each love of my youth. Each one different, each love still special in its own way. One in particular because of its poignant euphoria of lost weekends, rain beating on our windows, seemingly endless passion, a mellow French accent, umbrellas, cafes and laughter. Nothing could dampen our spirit or pierce our bubble of joy. This lasted two years, although the entire relationship had been ten in duration. Yes, your lovely poem sums up the experience of youthful love and how well the love lives on in memory, all in beautiful detail. My last love turned out to be the best too, and the richest in depth, beauty and endurance.

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  5. This poem is so full of personal memories that surely serve as a great renewal of the past. I know some people like to leave stuff in the past, and I do this quite frequently, but sometimes there are things that just deserve to be looked at once again. War was such a tragedy for many people during those years, but it is nice to know that it didn't harm your childhood like some others.

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  6. I love the mixture of personal story and nostalgia. I like how the positive springs from your lines.

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  7. We might still love the passion of youth - and maybe just by never getting married is what keep the memories of love so bright. Your story spans the lifetime and is filled with the sweet part of nostalgia rather than the misery, lovely really.

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  8. oh wow..what a story... there are so many different paths to chose when we are young...sometimes we make mistakes and learn from them..sometimes we only realize afterwards that a tough decision was the right one...some things we'll never know...

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  9. What a wonderful poem..perhaps it is better to remember people before the ravages of any war take hold

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  10. Like Susan I still love those who colored my life. I wonder if they do me? Yes, your poem worked very well indeed.

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  11. Wonderful 'rewinds' Rosemary! Boys are just as emotional and they profusely show it in many ways.This brings back loads of wonderful episodes! Great thoughts!

    Hank

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  12. This has so many questions, love, life, loss, family, really tugs on the heart.

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  13. Oh my, this was a tender read and put a smile on my face wishing my exes think of me too haha. Thanks for this Rosemary.

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  14. smiles....those loves...they never really leave us....and each one played a part in our lives and of shaping who we became and teaching us a little about love...

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  15. nice personal piece... much emotion in this... I liked "Old lady now, I still"... much reflection... didn't you know the heart doesn't grow old

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  16. Your opening stanza really created the scene for me - I could imagine it so clearly. You lead us down the path of memory - always a bitter-sweet experience.

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  17. ah yes, those loves we had when we were much younger. the "what might have been" moments.
    really enjoyed reading this poem. :)

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  18. A really heartfelt write
    Have a good Sunday

    Much love...

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  19. My, my - what a beautifully evoked story, Rosemary. I really enjoyed this - you poem has such a lovely tone... With Best Wishes Scott wwww.scotthastie.com

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  20. The wisdom of those older than us is often good.

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  21. I so appreciate your ability to tell the story, evoke the emotions and relate the time and place.

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  22. Glad to have touched all your heart-strings. (Smile.)

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  23. A beautiful, poignant memoir of a deep love inside this lovely poem.

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  24. This definitely works well for me. It's beautiful. I like the recognition of your growing wisdom, and your fond memories of him. He really is so handsome.

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  25. What a beautiful love story, so evocative and full of emotion! :)

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  26. What a beautiful story. It leaves me breathless. Sometimes a poem is the only way to give a story like this the justice it deserves.

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  27. Oh, I enjoyed your story, Rosemary!

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