Tuesday, February 22, 2011


supplied the prompt


You took pride-of-place in every picture.
You were the subject of my every scene.
Now, though I scrabble through the box of pieces,
I cannot find a trace of where you've been.
And what is the point of life without a focus;
A photograph without a centre-point?
The emptiness will stretch into the future
For everything in life is out of joint.

(A Victorian grieving.)

For a year and a day I will mourn him, the father of my child,
As the winds of grief blow round my heart, ever more chill and wild.
He was taken to live with the angels; he looks down on us from above!
Baby dear, kiss your own Papa, who gazes down with love.
I remember his face, so waxen, as he breathed his final breath
In life, my dear, he was lovely. He was lovely even in death.
They laid out my mourning costume, the thick black bombazine.
It breaks my heart to remember that he loved me best in green.
We'll stay fast in the house, my lovely, till our mourning days are done.
The shadowy house becomes us much more than the blazing sun.
I'll draw back the curtains one moment; you must kiss Papa on the face.
But to leave them open for longer would be a dreadful disgrace.
The clocks were all stopped at three, love, the time that the angels came;
To let them sound out the hours since then would bring this house great shame.
When a year and a day have passed, dear, I'll walk out in a dress of grey.
Am I really so terribly wicked to long for that distant day?
We'll visit the graveyard on Sunday; you'll wear your little black dress,
And passers-by will doff their hats to acknowledge our great distress.
Little children have to be taught, love, what a family death can mean.
I'm only just learning myself, you know, and I am all of sixteen.


Kristen Haskell said...

Both pieces are very moving. Missing really touched me today. What is the point of life without a focus, that line gives me pause.

Brigid O'Connor said...

Such a gorgeous post, so sad but touching.

Darlene said...

What a sad poem and it evokes Victorian grief so well. Imagine being a widow at 16 with a baby to care for. She probably had to stay inside for a full year of mourning when she was so young and full of life.

Uma Anandane said...

Touching post and well written as you always do

Suko said...

Both pieces are quite lovely, quite sad. Thank you for sharing your talent.

Kathe W. said...

I liked both of these pieces, so sad and so well done.

Tumblewords: said...

Exquisite poems. Deep with loss and melancholia.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Love Missing! Great poem! :o)

Self Sagacity said...

I wanted to make a comment to your Sad Case Neglected Elders, but there was no post a comment link. Perhaps you didn't want comments on that post? Anyhow, I still would like to say something because it touched me in a special way.
I know this is true as my mother is one who is experiencing this sadness. A long story and a sad situation, nevertheless, no one should have to live in such loneliness. It is surprising she has found the will to go on everyday as she does.

Reflections said...

Both pieces are very moving, deep with loss, frustrated moments left disjointed.

Well expressed.

Helen said...

'scrabbble through the box of pieces' ... great line.

Kodjo Deynoo said...

Like a everyone else says this was a moving piece

Chrissy said...

both of these pieces leave an echo of loneliness...sad and beautiful...nice job!

Martin said...

Missing and missed, two prompts for some of the biggest questions we're likely to ask.

Poetry24…where news is the Muse

Lyn said...

A perfect pairing..so touching..great truth..

Tess Kincaid said...

"...scrabble though a box of pieces" is a wonderful line!

Louise said...

Lovely post, very sad and moving.

Margaret said...

You outdid yourself her. I loved it.

Doctor FTSE said...

Your belief in rhyme never, ever undermines the poems. Lovely as usual.

Trellissimo said...

'Missing' was an exceedinly touching poem...

Sue J said...

I enjoyed both pieces very much. How regimented and ritualised mourning and grief was, and how important it was to be seen to be doing the right thing.

Kavita said...

Papa was such a moving poem, Brenda... And to imagine that she was sixteen herself!! Really broke my heart...
So beautifully rendered, my friend..

And Missing was ...simply soulful! Sad, yes.. but lovely nonetheless!
"scrabble through the box of pieces" -- what an image that created.. like shards of glass waiting to be picked...
Really wonderfully written indeed!

Grandma's Goulash said...

I was touched deeply by your Victorian poem. Interesting comment on the part that societal mores play in our lives.

Hope you'll stop by: The Good Life

~T~ said...

Both so beautifully sad...

Julia Phillips Smith said...

'Papa! (A Victorian grieving)' is very moving and so rich with three solid characters, including the recently departed. Wonderful job, and I love the illustration that goes with it.