These things still catch me in my throat:
Nail varnish, certain sea creatures,
The tickets my desk still features
For films seen last year, my green coat.
For several minutes I can live
Just answering the moment’s call
And fill my head with duty, all
The tasks my choice to teach can give
But sooner, later, never long
A moment’s hush descends and dwells –
A hush that echoes thought, which tells
Of who I was, what songs we sung.
It seemed much better to become
Another soul in the same flesh
And leave the previous self to mesh
And then dissolve – to turn quite numb.
And yes, it’s numb, where it did burn,
Just like the numbness of a knock,
The numbness of loss, hurt and shock
That disappears when you turn.
So simply look another way –
A busy life is quick to find
And teaching, writing, fills a mind
And worry quickly fills a day.
Because a tidy room, a space,
A sunny morning, open page,
Will catch my throat and then engage
A memory to inhabit space.
She rests, or toys, or fixes things
And fills the room with noise and play
And crams life into the whole day
And hears the words the singer sings.
She’s heard most of my words before
And tested, tasted, all their sense
And I can’t read them blankly, hence
Would rather not read any more.