Sunday, January 16, 2011

Last Moment


The phrase in blue is the closing sentence of the 1950 film The Glass Menagerie .

(A very personal memory from forty years ago)

You would expect a final memory
To be intensely personal;
After all,
Four years,
Thousands of miles,
And a great deal of romance and affection,
Had come before.
As it is with many relationships,
It had faded,
Become routine.
Though neither of us had admitted it.
Now he was returning to Africa.
We stood on a grey London platform.
And he said 'I'll be back, you know'.
And I said 'I'll still be here'.
And we were both half-lying,
Hoping we were speaking the truth,
Knowing we were not.
The whistle blew,
The train pulled out.
He waved from a window.
But, almost immediately,
The line curved.
He was lost to sight.
All that was left was a departing train,
Growing ever smaller.
I waved to something
And that is how I remember them,
All those years,
All those emotions,
Whenever I think of him
The departing train is my first thought.
It was utterly impersonal.
Yet it was utterly sad.


So many feelings,
Inspired by one memory.
A gate opening on to a quiet road;
So quiet
That we looked up, startled,
When a car went by.
Distant views of grassland,
Sometimes a glorious green,
Sometimes the dry colour of corn
And, once,
The grey of extreme drought.
Here and there, cows,
And the sound of distant mooing.
A sheep
To crop the garden grass.
To protect,
Or to be protected from!
Hens laying eggs.
A baby kangaroo
To nurture.
Along the road a little way
Coming up to the fence to be fed.
An exciting excursion for a little boy.
But not the humidity of the coast.
A dry, scented heat.
The treasured memories
Of a citified Grandmother
Whose family
Lived in the country.
Thinking back to
Once Upon a Time.
What do I feel?
All of that.


Not 11,000, but 22,000 turned up to help clean Brisbane! Many had to be turned-away! I'm one of those silly people who gets teary at the happy, not the sad. And I'm teary now.


Margaret Gosden said...

Last Moment - that was very moving! And I do like the monochrome of the train and train station.

Tracey said...

Beautiful, and yes, sad. Yay for the cleanup! :-)

Deborah said...

Very moving, memories can be so vivid no matter how far behind us.
... and the PS, how wonderful! I'm one of those silly people too :o)

Hey Harriet said...

You made me teary too! Your post is beautiful. I think the overwhelming numer of volunteers took everybody by surprise! Not enough buses were available to transport everybody to the clean-up points! Everyone so keen to help each other makes me cry tears of joy. So I cry over the happy stuff also :)

You mentioned drought? It seems so long ago, but it was only recently that we all came out of the drought phase. And we were so happy to have water in plentiful supply again! Perhaps due to our enthusiasm the water got carried away with our joy and just kept coming. It failed to put the brakes on!

Anonymous said...

This is a truly lovely post. Thanks for sharing.

All the best, Boonie

Shail Raghuvanshi said...

Ah Brenda, you leave me wanting for more,taking me back in my memories....

Kodjo Deynoo said...

A truly moving piece of real life

Kerry O'Connor said...

Your last moment was so honestly written, the lost love and faded emotion as palpable as a bundle of love letters tied in faded ribbon.

Sasha A. Palmer said...

I love 'Last Moment', a very personal, and utterly beautiful poem. Thank you for sharing.

Scarlet said...

I can relate to the painted an all too familiar scene where a relationship falls apart into pieces.

Thanks for sharing this ~

Ella said...

You really did capture the emotions of a final good bye. The steel train and the void of not knowing what to say or how to act~ Well Done

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

I love both these pieces. You are very good at both painting pictures and telling stories in your poems! Only I think you could well stop short of your endings in both; I find them a little overstated, which is not necessary. Once you have created the situation, I don't think you need to then comment on it. Trust your readers to feel truly what you are conveying. I think you could end the first at 'The departing train is my first thought' and the second at 'Once Upon a Time', and that the poems would be the stronger for it. Just a thought.