Wednesday, 19 September 2012


(That's short for Patricia, not one of my Irish friends)

Our parting tears
Yours and mine
I gathered in
A blue paisley
I rolled it tightly
And sewed it shut
Tight, neat, little
And tried to forget

I joined the Army
To forget.
Because I couldn't 
Speak French
And a daily ration
Of rough sour wine
Didn't interest me.
But climbing mountains
Did. Canoeing
Rivers did!

Years later,
Mountains and
Valleys later.
Loves later,
Service and wounds later.
Captivities and Freedoms later,
Sacrifice and rebirths later,
I found the handkerchief
And that little wooden mouse
In my folk's attic,
Among other dusty traces
Of vanished youth.

I cut the stitches,
and unrolled the handkerchief.
The tears were 
No longer there.

Now fifty years
Later. The pain
Has gone. Even
The longing.

But perhaps
Like a faded spot
On an old tear stained handkerchief
There is a trace,
Just a shadow,
Of regret,
At what we missed,
At what we might have been.
But your memory warms
My old heart. Thank you.
Fare thee well!

Copyright © Res JFB 6th March 2011

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