Were I an artist, which I'm not,
Snow would be painted white!
Heat would be red and skies sky-blue,
All horribly, boringly trite!
But see how an artist of renown
Takes the rich warm tones of gold
And transforms them with his alchemy
Into sparkling, bitter cold!
We start to warm our hands at this,
A scene with a honey glow,
And then we feel the tingle
Of the un-white, dazzling snow!
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.
One grows old so gradually that one hardly notices. But, suddenly, a change of attitude and habit makes you think 'Here it comes!'
When we moved to Merewether 15 years ago we were entranced by our proximity to the sea. We got up at six in the morning to swim every day in summer, and that was from October to May. In my case it was 'doggy-paddling' but the experience was , nearly always, quite ecstatic.
Today we took our afternoon tea down to the baths. And we realised that, this summer, we've hardly been there at all! As for swimming, it seems to have removed itself from our agenda. (In my case it's vanity........ an eighty year old body is not a pretty sight. Although I see many others who have no such qualms.) We found the last summer too hot; that was our excuse.
It was still very warm today but there was the most delightful strong breeze and we asked ourselves why we'd wasted so many chances.
Malcolm's hat nearly blew off.
And I had to hold mine on. See my trouser legs flapping in the breeze.
It was the last day of Surfest. You have to imagine these people screaming with joy as their hero attacks a wave in the correct way (whatever that is.)
As for me, I grew rather pensive, looking at the power of a small wave and thinking of the greater and more deadly wave that has devastated Japan.*