The old man shuffles where the young man used to run
His eyes see the same world he saw as a child
But a lot has changed
Many details look the same
But a sandy area near a river where he used to play
lies now, half neglected and half fenced off and ‘improved’ with over priced houses
and distrusting owners glaring out through locked doors and windows armed with burglar alarms
The books he loved reading more than once now require a pair of glasses to reveal their coded secrets
Anywhere he looks, any memory he peers through is now weighted with years of random association with pleasure and pain
memories strained through love and loss, anger and forgiveness, harsh words and encouragement
Words like ‘forever’ and ‘betrayal’ fill with nectar and poison, sting and soothe
Wrinkled old women still look like the first time he saw them, softened by years of warm touch, celebration and consolation-
clarity, confusion, they’re all still there, you never forget.
Some things you never get over – some tears still burn.
The loss of a pet, the cruelty of a ‘friend’. The death of a child or a childhood companion.
Loves that turn sour can be survive – Loves that never were – cannot
And yet a rainy day can still bring back the sunshine
And dreams left unfulfilled can still inspire
While promises unkept can still burn deeply
as the pain in his joints can be ignored with a hint of a wagging tail
or the memory of a purring cat
whether ‘ghosts’ or ‘souls reborn’ are real, they are still with him and always will be
And now hints from the next life shock less and less
While messages from long gone parents, friends and lovers
feel more convincing every day.
Contact from beyond the grave, much harder to deny,
Leaves this tearful poem without an ending.
~~~~~ Jim Wellington – 19 January, 2015