Another Time, Another Place

Sometimes, at random times, odd times

And also in the month of May

I catch a glimpse, receive a transmission

From another dimension, where you saw life.

 

A bright-eyed baby with lots of hair

And golden skin.

Another time, you were six

Or thereabouts

You were drawing, quietly, absorbed

In a farmhouse kitchen.

Your long hair his light brown colour

And fineness, shaped by my curls.

 

From the age of twelve, his sense of adventure

And my defiance,

Your aunt’s determination and sense of right,

Made life turbulent for that other-dimensional me.

But, oh, my god, how stunning you were!

Your rage lit up my pride,

Your fearlessness my heart.

 

And now you are nineteen and off you go

On your travels, on your journey.

And other-dimensional me

Heaves a sigh of relief,

Cries a river of tears,

Misses you like an ache.

I can feel it all, across the gap.

 

So excited for what your life will be

As one of the freest women ever to stalk that Earth.

So sad that she will not be there beside you

To see everything that you do

To marvel at you, to protect you.

To hear the very startling things

That come out of your mouth.

 

And though the loss of you propelled me

On so many adventures of my own

Tonight I feel jealous of other-dimensional me

And the life she has with you in it,

Amazing you.

And I am glad that these other dimensions exist

And that, in one of them, at least,

You see life

Matriarch

nans'eyesHer eyes are robins, bustling and darting

They can stop a baby crying at fifty paces

Embarrass a handsome young man

At twice that distance

Her hands distorted lobster claws

From polishing up all her pride and joy

For so many years

Her handbag arms, so strong

In taking care of others

In taking charge of others

 

Her 1950s hair and posh ‘Toosdays’

In the right company

Turn into curlers and long-drawn ‘Ooooh!’s

The chink of spoon stirring cup

At home in her blue and gold

John Lewis splendour

Her heart broke when they made her

Step down from her high heels

 

She is outrageous draped curtains

Whiskey and gin, a clutter of objects

She is too much food

That wants to be eaten up

She is nosier than cats

Cheekier than squirrels

And pulling her skirt to just above the knee

To tell you her life stories

 

Softer than butter

Wrapped around a brick

And though the Pear’s soap

And the petal skin

Might fool you

She is a whirlwind

Confined to an armchair

A storm in a teapot

Always ready to pour me a cup

 

Thanks to the lovely Chris White for his workshop on metaphor where I began to write this poem. Please go and see Chris any time you get the chance, and don’t miss his amazing show Moist Moist Moist