Sunday, 27 October 2013

After the clocks go back

I could use the extra hour to write a story,
or pass it penning lyrics for a song.
I might count each of the seconds very slowly,
to make the minutes linger on and on.

I could view the extra hour as a bonus,
as added time to read and think and be.
Three thousand and six hundred extra moments
a gift that comes from nowhere, burden-free.

But I look out at the slowly lightening morning,
at the windows of the houses down the street,
and wonder if behind those tight-drawn curtains
sits another woman wishing she could sleep.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Nobody knows what Penny-Rose knows*

Nobody knows what Penny-Rose knows.
But everyone knows that Penny-Rose shows
a remarkable knowing as each day she grows,
as her head stretches further away from her toes.
And the grown-ups all tap on the sides of their nose
to say to each other that Penny-Rose knows.

But nobody sees what Penny-Rose sees
when she gazes outside at the sky and the trees.
There she sits, chin on hands, with elbows on knees
and peers through the branches that dance in the breeze.
They’re getting a sense of her growing unease,
but no-one can picture what Penny-Rose sees

And nobody hears what Penny-Rose hears,
or knows why she’s frowning and holding her ears.
They can’t hear the noises that started her fears
or understand what makes her eyes fill with tears.
They marvel at how she seems old for her years,
but nobody hears what Penny-Rose hears.

And nobody thinks to ask Penny-Rose why
she sits there and gazes up into the sky,
and watches the sparrows and pigeons pass by,
and peers at the aeroplane roaring on high.
They don’t think to ask her the cause of her sigh.
So she never tells them.
                                       She knows she can’t fly.

*last weekend I visited my grandchildren. While Eddie always runs to hug his Nana and is happy to sit and read books or play games, Penny-Rose always hangs back. Sometimes when I talk to her, she cries, and often when I look at her, she's just sitting there staring at me. One day, I hope she'll tell me why.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Two sides of the moon

Another fitful night. Awake at 2.07, again at 3.00am. And then again. And again.

I flip from side to side and back. I get too hot and throw aside the quilt, then turn the pillow to find its cooler face. I lie back down for what seems only minutes, before I’m up again to shed my clothes. Yet seconds later, I'm cold again and reaching for the quilt.

I look at you, lying there unconscious. I want to wake you, shake you, haul you from your dreams. How dare you lie there, deep in sleep and peaceful?

I listen to your breathing, try to time mine to the ins and outs. But I can’t find the rhythm,  I only feel discomfort as I hold my breath too long, or can’t take in enough to fill my lungs.

Then as I watch and listen, your gentle inhalation becomes a rasping snore. I tap you lightly on the shoulder, hoping that might be enough to bring me peace. But no, the grating sound continues. My push is harder, and still you don’t wake up, yet somewhere in your deep unconsciousness you hear or sense me, then you turn away.

And I am still awake, and lying there, and helpless, as all the crowding, rushing, scaring thoughts roll in. 

It’s 2am and I am here awake. The room is dark but warm and reassuring; it holds me safely in the arms of night and peace. From a distance comes the faint drone of the motorway, beside me, the slightest sighing of your breath.

My eyes adjust and focus in the darkness, the shapes become the furniture I know. Their solidity a comforting reminder, of who and where I am, that I am home. I know that, until tomorrow, there’s no harm can come to me, or you, nothing I must do or say, no solutions to be found or problems fixed.

So I lie here and begin to count my blessings. The firm mattress that supports my back, the pillow that cradles my head. The man I love, sleeping at my side, and the night-time hours that are mine alone.