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There is no poetry in grief

Do you ride the thermals now?

Grief has no rhyme or rhythm

I want to hear your voice

See your smile

I want to tell you things

that have no words

“I can’t live with or without you”

I want to say sorry but I don’t know what for

You hurt me

but you didn’t mean to

You wanted to protect me from you

You kept my letters

when you lost almost everything

I burned yours

in a stupid attempt to cauterise wounds

with fire

Like Peter, I denied you

Denied that I loved you

I met my husband Cliff

when I was raw with the pain

of your leaving

My love for you

threatened him


It hurt him

I didn’t want that

but I did love you

love takes many forms

one does not cancel out the other

my love for you

took nothing from my love for him


I planted seedlings with my husband

we worked in silent harmony

You once wrote a song for me

Sent from some place of war

you were a soldier in 32 battalion

You sent me the lyrics

it was beautiful

I burned it with your letters

There is nothing left

I’ve forgotten every word

After your last leaving

your calls woke me often

Your voice came from the bottom

of a bottle

You irritated me

You really left me

when you turned back to drink.

You left me on a shore watching

you grow smaller

as your solo vessel turned to a dot

on the horizon

I felt abandoned

but when I cut you

off I cut off part of me

You chose booze over me

Your scars were beautiful

each one a map

to a secret part of you

Your mother told you to duck!

Was leaving as easy as it looked?

Why England?

You were a son of Africa

Did you need to drink in peace

You loved your children

more than anything

How could you leave them?

They needed you

Scorched earth

Was destruction

your idea of liberty?

Cliff is my perfect partner

Loving him is as easy

as breath

I believe that you wanted me happy

That was big of you

I am deeply happy now

In denying you

I was dishonest

I lied to myself

Acacia came to cuddle me now

we shared kisses

she talked about chickens

These moments are everything

You walked out of an AA meeting

glowing with a spiritual light

Something had touched you deeply


You shone

Driving in the car to visit your children

We listened to Fleetwood Mac

Did I have to shut you off

to move on?

Now I need to embrace your memory

to get past this loss

Loving you

meant loosing you

over and over and bloody over

Now and then


I will think of you

When I hear a song

“I ain’t missing you at all”

When I go some place

where we were

I sometimes drive past the restaurant

where we ate pizza

like a ‘normal’ couple

Or where we met the AA guys for coffee

in Sandton Square

They wanted you to win that battle

The would understand

why you didn’t

There will always be triggers

bringing you to mind

They won’t be clouds over

the sun of my day

They will be shooting stars

I have few wishes to make now

I have what makes me happy

You disturbed the air around you

There was nothing small or petty about you

How did you feel

before you died?

I hope there was some peace on your last day

I hope you smiled

at something

How extensive was the damage?

Did it leave any part of you intact?

You must be at peace now

Are you riding the thermals?

We were always about the sum of

our endings

We weren’t about beginnings

Still I can’t say goodbye

I respect that you didn’t buy into society’s BS

It will be my birthday on Friday

I get older

you no longer do

On Sunday

your ashes will be shared amongst your family

Your ashes combined with eagle feathers

Do you ride the thermals now?

I can’t keep writing this forever

There’s no beginning, middle bit

and closing chapter

wrapping up

all the untidy bits

Life’s an unfinished work

even when it’s over

Was there an unfinished book

at your bedside?

Did you have plans for the next day?

There will always be things

not said here

Other memories will slice

the night sky

for a moment

In the 80s

you were perfection

in your denim dungarees

Your eyelashes casting long shadows

over perfect cheeks

your imperfections

take nothing from that

you were out of my reach then

you are out of my reach now

In all the mess

there are some closed circles

Do you ride the thermals now?


  1. Beautifully Written and Soulful

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