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)

 

Loss

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

 

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The Refugees

  No one was
alone
  in that sea
of starfish

though few
names
had been
spoken,

tumbling in
empty rain
and rolling
roaring waves.

Clothes, shoes,
money were lost
by the time
the new land

appeared
and the storm
blissfully
stopped.

The moon lit
the sea,
and recognised
the soft, pink ones

as hers.

She gave them names
that could not
be taken or spoken
but were known.

Star hand in
star hand
they walked
to shore
together.

I wrote this poem about five times, all different- I couldn’t settle on one. I hope this one will do justice to something- I was thinking about refugees coming across the sea and thinking about loss and grace and gain all at the same time.

The Bones of Us

I count the bones of us
as the white moon
sets over ash.

I run them through
my fingers

yours, I think,
mine.

I wait for the bones
to sleep,
disappear,
crumble
into powder.

But they are solid and rough,
sandpaper against my fingers.

Almost-whispered groans
speak answers that
I don’t understand.

The rising moon catches
the white,

I turn them in my hands.

I was a match, and you slate.

What blew our spark so wild?

I hold the bones,
sandpaper against my heart,

waiting for you
to claim them.

Solstice

In the night
steeped with dark
we hold heavy
secrets.

In the longest night
we can whisper them
one by one

no one will hear

but the souls
and spirits
that have no light
that dwell in shadow.

They will take our
heavy offerings
one by one
so we can be still
and sleep
and feel our losses

so when the sun
rises
it can fill us,
empty of shadow
with warmth
and light.

Here on the Solstice
we give up
what we know is lost
to find
the New Year.

Here in the UK it’s sunset, this winter Solstice. I hope this night heals and holds all who read this. And that tomorrow brings great candles of hope.

Blue Boy

Maybe it’s because
he reminds me
of something
I lost.

Maybe there was
a new boy
blue boy
I held to
my heart
and he held
me

maybe
that happened
in the midnight
moonlight
one night

and it was
the most I’ve
ever seen

of the colour
of night.

Now the dark
has deepened
and hid the moon

and I’m left
with the absence
of blue.

A simple poem- I hope readers enjoy it – a midnight sort of poem.

Singing Stones

Singing
in the water
running
through my
fingers
cool, clear
fountains
of sound

skipping
notes

these were
our people
stones in
the water
now sunk
now gone
their music
in the water.

This comes from a dream. The dream was about the original Native American culture, but I think the poem could apply to any people who have passed.