Later on in the day

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

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