Thursday, December 15, 2016

For Tony, on what would have been his 88th today - Day 14 - Sara Dowse

Don’t tell me it isn’t tragic
that I’ll have no one to talk to in the morning
or walk with into Manly round the harbour
or listen to the fulminations
erupting on his tongue
He irritates, no doubt,
is difficult to feed, and I imagine
how I might eat without him.
Truth is, there won’t be much point
in eating then at all.
No one to tease, how I do love to tease him,
a child I am, the child I once was
so many years before.
Wicked? Well, tempted. But no,
not unkind.  And who would be so
when nothing that comes from him
manages to be unkind.
It’s an island I’ve come to, refuge at last,
a small one; high ground.
But why does he need a piano?
It isn’t a home without one, he says
though doesn’t often play.
Below us lies the ocean we travelled
a gentle, rippling sea that day by day
swallows its expanse.
Don’t tell me it’s not tragic
that I’ll wake in a cold bed one day.

Sad trees, such sad trees,
with deep sad colours,
barely green, more black,
and waters of beaten pewter
that he loves.
Big, tangled rivers, the current
so strong they would knock
a man down they have.
He dreams of them
those sad trees
but doesn’t see they’re sad
nor the ravelling of the river.
Tragedy. There’s no monopoly here,
and yet we will meet her
with wide, distant eyes,
as if by pleading might be spared.
But once she beams her baleful grin upon us
we might as well take up exclusive claim.
Notice how a crested quail
will stand beside her stricken.
On the road or in the spangled forest.


  1. yes - we must notice these things
    it is tragic
    and he's right about the piano

    1. Thank you, Kit. And yes, he was right on so many things, including the piano.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, Michelle. The funny (odd) thing is I wrote it three years before he died, and then it wasn't funny at all.

  3. A beautiful poem, and yes one can think haead to the coming tragedy. It does not make it real, but momentous events need poems.


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