Sunday, May 3, 2009


I can only offer half!


I've known my share of sadness; I've known my share of pain;
I've known the awful pangs of grief and will do so again.
But the sense of loss I most recall was trivial in extreme,
Yet still it haunts my reveries and comes back in a dream.
When I was born my sister was a girl already ten;
To me she seemed an adult in those far-off days back then.
She had the sweetest nature of anyone I've known,
And she loved me just as though I were her own.
(Oh, most fortunate of childhoods! Just imagine me
With more than two fond parents! I had three!)
When I was, maybe, three or four, my sister learned to knit
And when I needed dolls' clothes she fashioned them to fit.
My favourite doll was Gretchen, a Dutch doll made of plush,
With a cap and plaits and, on her cheeks, a subtle painted blush.
Gretchen had a wardrobe of lovely knitted clothes,
By my sister made to measure,  from her head down to her toes.
But she hadn't got a swimsuit so the pattern was soon picked
And, in due course, Mollee's knitting-needles clicked.
I can see that little garment now! I recall that it was green,
And four diamonds marched across the front demanding to be seen.
Gretchen looked so 'fetching'. (That's what they used to say!)
And I see her in in her outfit in my mind's-eye every day.
'Let's take her to the park!' I said and Mollee acquiesced.
I knew the children playing there would all be most impressed!
I don't recall the afternoon or any games we played, 
But soon our time was over and the light began to fade.
We had walked back through the park gate and half-way down the street
When I cried out 'Where's Gretchen! I've left her on the seat!'
Quickly we retraced our steps for it would soon be dark
And we rushed back to our old spot in the park.
And that is where it happened! That agony of mind!
Of finding something precious lost that I so longed to find.
Yes! Gretchen had been taken. There wasn't any sign
Of that Dutch Doll in a Swimsuit that was mine.
I see them now, the shadowy trees, the grass, the path, the light,
And that empty park bench sitting there as day turned into night.
The physical sensation of loss was everywhere;
In my heart, my brain, my soul! More than I could bear!
I seem to remember crumpling; I suppose my legs gave way;
I seem to remember screaming, insisting we should stay.
But, young as I was, I knew that only heart-ache was in store.
And the ravens of my life screamed 'Nevermore!' 
Of course we 'put away childish things'; they hardly count for much.
Surely there's nothing important about a doll that's Dutch?
But I remember emotions almost beyond belief.
Loss. Pain. Anguish. Heartbreak. Misery. And Grief.


Patty said...

What a wonderful poem describing how you felt. Even yet today, I hate losing something of my own, not matter how small it may seem to someone else. Sounds like you had a wonderful sister.

Margaret Gosden said...

Yes, that is a sad one. I can identify with that the way you so well recall it.

Thoughtfully Blended Hearts said...

...just stumbled by your blog...I love your poem...thanks for a little bit pleasure...

Mari Meehan said...

What a loving, poignant look into a child's awakening!

Kat said...

the 'bitter half' of the poem was the loss of Gretchen... :(((

the 'better half' of the poem was the adorable Sis of yours :)))

vivinfrance said...

A sad tale, indeed, but how well you have told it.