Guest Post – Poems by Arwen

The Scarf

The scarf that Nan wore

When she was dying –

Green, gold and sparkling,

Delicate tassels of silver,

Luminescent –

From whence did it come?


A thing she picked up

In the dementia home,

In her forgetting

(So we presume) –

Unless, on her deathbed,

It just manifested.


The only thing there is

To remember her with.

How can it be that she’s gone?

And yet,

If she were not,

It would make sense even less.

– Arwen, September 2017 (Cambridge)



They’re coming, coming,

One after another,

One follows the other,

Hastening, chastening –

The rain

Breaks up loss

Like candles at mass –

Hope in the dark;

When a bee is fallen

(The window never found)

It lies death still –

Like us as well.

– Arwen – July 1990 (Birmingham)

These poems are written by my friend Arwen. I feel honoured to share Arwen’s poems which I find so moving- these blazing insights are having their first blog outings.


Some words from the writer:


‘The scarf’ is written after my Nan died in late 2016.  I then recalled that I’d also written a poem when my Granddad (her husband) died, way back in 1990.  The poem ‘Loss’ is also recorded here, therefore, written on the day he died.’ – Arwen



3 thoughts on “Guest Post – Poems by Arwen

  1. Thank you both for sharing these poems of memories lost and found. Luminescent and dark. Light and insubstantial. Like candles at Mass, flickering in the holding space around.
    (A minor technical point to edit out of my comment – “from whence” is too much, as “whence” already means “from where”. Better to put “from where” (which I prefer) or simply “whence”)

    • thanks kathy! also for the technical point – i had thought that ‘from whence’ was probably incorrect and also a bit heavy-sounding but both words (‘from’ and ‘whence’) create half-rhymes with other words around themselves so I was loathe to lose either of them! If I have to concede then I think I perhaps prefer ‘whence’ to ‘from where’, because it flows more smoothly out of ‘luminescent’ and into ‘dementia’.

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