“August and yellow flowers”: a poem for Daffodil Day

I wrote this poem for daffodil day in memory of a friend lost too soon.  Daffodil day falls on the fourth friday of every August and is a a major fund-raising event for research into cancer research, prevention and support services for those affected by cancer.  It is also a day to support patients and survivors, and to remember loved ones lost to us.

Eight months ago I lost one of my best friends after her 18 month struggle with cancer.  This poem is about her in a way, but more so it is about my emotional journey over these last two years, about my loss, and about grief in general.  If anyone else is struggling with their own loss I hope this poem may offer you some small solace.

If you’d like to make a dontaion please follow the link at the bottom of the page.

 

August and yellow flowers

Daffodils break up through stone hard frost
while blue skies drip with sunflowers not rain,
and everywhere I look are thoughts of you—
now I know I should be charitable
because cancer’s taken so much I love
but I can’t see another damn daffodil,
can’t relive again this forced remembrance
that August and yellow flowers bring.

This month two years ago life imploded—
your future was stolen, mine stuck on pause,
when you were torn open and robotosised,
when I was ripped apart from the inside
your body taken over by rogue cells,
my insides gutted, my breath stripped away,
your indomitable energy bound,
contained in a prison of flesh and drugs—

I could see where all the signs were pointing
no matter how I tried to shield my eyes,
I couldn’t hide from my fate anymore
than I could turn my gaze from yours,
no choice but to walk this road by your side
until your path veered off into the sun
while mine dragged under grey and sullen skies.

So I close my eyes and try to forget,
let your memories slumber for a spell,
imagine the sky filled with clouds not sun—
for though the new spring is about to break
sunflowers drip from skies instead of rain
and I am surrounded by daffodils.

 

Me and Mud 2

The two of us back in 2004

 

To donate go to https://www.daffodilday.com.au/

Bad Weather

Bad weather

The weather’s fine today,
partly cloudy with a chance of rain—
there’s always a chance of rain.
Yesterday was overcast,
grey clouds and white fog,
mist coated all my words,
before that it rained all day,
an endless downpour leaking through my roof
but even that was better than the wind
that raged and stormed and blew my fence down.
It seems days now since I saw the sun:

slipping weak tendrils out from behind clouds,
slowly gathering strength to leap into the sky and shine
before slipping back beneath a cloud to rest.

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Animal Therapy

Animal Therapy
Last time I was sick I was in my bed,
too ill to move even for the water
and the tablets, just an arm’s reach away,
feeling like death, if death had feelings,
unable to do anything but pray
to a god I don’t believe in to help,
to make it go away, to let me sleep,
at least until the pain’s a little less—

when I heard the patter of paws approach,
and the slight impact of the cat’s landing
on my bed, watched her sidle up to me,
putting her face in mine to sniff me out
before curling her warm body up beside
my chest and purring in time with my heart.

cat

 

Sunrise in summer: a parting aubade

Sunrise in summer – a farewell

a parting aubade
in the indigo pre-dawn,
together we wait

birds chime a warning
the sun is coming, with it,
time to say goodbye

the butcher bird calls
orange fills the horizon
a last parting kiss

light slowly gathers
seeming anti-climatic
night gives way to day

in the clouds a glimmer
of the night fading away
of the sun rising

Clouds shimmer in sun
orange and purple and bright—
my wondrous night done

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Falling

The bulk of my poems, no matter how I try to avoid it, tend to be focused more on the maudlin side: full of melancholy, angst, lovelorn laments and ponderings of existential despair, all of that fun stuff.  But beautiful poetry doesn’t always have to be dark, or so I try to remind myself.  This Valentine’s Day I thought I’d delve into some happy memories and see what diamonds I could find.

So fall all you crazy lovers out there, this one’s for you.

Falling

Falling again,
against my better judgement,
light as a feather
leaden as lead,
into your wide open arms
no thought, no choice, just one word,
‘go.’

 

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“A new dawn” From Nina Simone’s Feeling Good

With every New Year we give ourselves an emotional opportunity to begin anew, to bind ourselves with resolutions, aspirations and prognostications of a better, idealised self to live up to throughout the year. Whether the new self becomes inspiration for change and self-improvement or fades as quickly as a New Year’s Day hangover; it remains emblematic of change; as Nina Simone sings, “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me, and I’m feeling good.”

But I’m just not feeling it. After a rather turbulent time the New Year has been less about celebration and much more about finding focus. 2015 was a year tainted by grief and regaining my emotional equilibrium has been a long process. January has been a time of introspection. I have been spring cleaning, not just physically, but mind, body and soul. This poem, inspired from Nina Simone’s song Feeling Good, is about that process.

A New Dawn

Birds fly high into the dusky rose sky,
stars shine down in mournful song—
the sun is dead, is turned to ash—
and my mind’s a confused cog;
don’t know what to expect,
can’t cast aside this old wound
can only learn from what’s been done,
what’s been given was never meant to be;
this old world, this bold world—
this world will eat me alive.

Birds fly high into blissful skies,
my heart weighs me into the ground—
it’s time to clean out the old, comb out the fog.
Birds fly high toward the dawn
their song sings ‘freedom, freedom’
I watch their journey with envious eyes
and wait for the day my sun will be reborn.

The beach from day to night

Sand hot under feet,
sun a fire blazing in blues,
the water beckons.

Surf still and shining,
waters seem filled with diamonds
glistening on skin.

the sun bows its head
shows a golden path on surf
stretching into sky

on the horizon
the sun becomes a star
I could pluck from sky

The moon soars above
ocean now inky black
and reflecting stars

Footprints in the sand
the only sign left over
to say I was here

beach vignette