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 June 2016

My Life in Words 3. The Long Middle

The long middle of my life
was a novel: one of those 
family sagas. First love, 
first job, first marriage, 
first affair ... and all the rest
in each category.

The first and only
full-scale nervous breakdown 
came early, in that first, young,
brief marriage. 'Compulsive
gambler', I say now, to explain.
And pathological liar, I might add,
and bipolar, and impotent. Or
I could trace the cause further back,
remembering my drunken shrieks 
of wanting to kill my father –
surprising myself most of all.

Years of therapy. Do we ever 
truly recover? I learned to go on
into new chapters, new men,
and the everyday miracle of children. 
School, cooking, travel,
financial planning, all that.
Love in the suburbs.
After some decades, if we're smart,
we give up trying to conform.
We start to honour the self.

I let go of magic, pushed it away
(not to be mad) shut the messages
out of my ears, and the power
out of my hands. Eventually 
stopped remembering.

Poetry, though, would never
let go of me. Words 
have always saved me, 
whether talking my way
out of potential rape, 
or telling myself the truth 
in writing – mining my depths.

Twice divorced, once widowed.
And there was that other, younger
love who died. And one of my sons
permanently estranged. (My choice,
for good and sufficient reason –
are you shocked? Never mind.)

Bankruptcy. Poverty. And finally
the Pension. Learning to be frugal
and live well. Learning all kinds
of competence. Along the way 
the magic poured back – too strong,
too real, to stay suppressed.


  1. Rosemary, you have lived a fascinating life. And I like the authenticity and honesty in your poem. There are so many parts of this poem that make me want to know MORE. And yes, after some decades we DO (if we are smart) give up trying to conform & start to honor who we are!

    1. Thanks, Mary, much appreciated. I guess I really will have to write that memoir!

  2. This is incredibly well done and incredibly wise.

    1. Really?! I'm very complimented that you say so, particularly as I admire your own poetry so much. I was thinking this one would need a lot more work.

  3. Oh I cannot wait for your memoir, my friend........you have lived an amazing life. I am glad the magic came back, too strong to be suppressed. Am very glad to know you, Rosemary.

    1. An eventful life, that's for sure! :-)

      Very glad I know you, too, dear Sherry.