Sunday, 16 May 2010

Making it onto Barbara's bus after all

I was sat at my Mum's bedside Wednesday just gone when I read Barbara Smith's Poetry Bus instructions for this week. A lot of last Wednesday was a peaceful day here – I was fairly oblivious to the change of government (and all that) because all I could focus on was Mum and where she seemed to be heading. There was lots of sunshine and Mum was settled and sleepy for a lot of the day but it was the last day when she was here with us as a personality in any sense and we kind of knew that. She was hard asleep (with sedation) from Wednesday night till she stopped breathing on the Friday morning so Wednesday was the end of our lives together in some ways.

On Saturday I thought 'oh no way, I can post that poem now...I'll miss the Bus this time round...this is not a time for blogging' but then Sunday morning I thought 'well, a person can be wrong...'. Mum loved me writing...she didn't always like what I wrote but she liked the idea of me working and putting my brain to use – she used to say, in her ladylike voice, 'you're a communicator, dear, that's what you are'. So I thought that after all I would post the poem and it's below. It's not a particularly great poem I don't think... not as good, for example, as last week's little opera one that lots of you seemed to like. 'Finale' had some beauty (and don't we all love beauty...I know my Mum did) but this one is more harsh reality with nothing particularly pretty or cultural going on. Still we write life in all its shades and tones, don't we?

Anyway, Barbara's task was to use a given opening line. I was a good girl – I walked the line.



Flat down


I got down on my knees and smelled the new linoleum
And I wondered as I lowered if my knees could take the strain
They are old, faring ill, not as bendy as they might be
I am old, faring worse, not a stranger now to pain

Once I'm down then I'm down and there's no-one here can lift me
Here I am, on the floor, with my face against the cold
Life is hard, so's the floor, now I'm tired and fit no longer
Here I'll bow, here I'll lie, I am ready now and old



RF 2010


I'll be back on Wednesday with a song for the funeral. It's got a great story to go with it too.


x

25 comments:

Emerging Writer said...

Good to see you on the bus. Such a lovely poem, reminded me of that Alan Bennett talking head's piece about the cream cracker.

Argent said...

I love the feeling of someone who has come to terms with life in this piece 'ready now, and old'. I hope I'll be like that one day. Hope all goes well for the funeral and look forward to the song and story.

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, EW, I do sometimes have a bit of an Alan Bennett thing going on. I like the comic blended with tragic effect that he manages so well.

Yes, A, that is what we had here (as good a death as person can have really). As for the funeral...well, some people will be kept away by ash clouds, some by other factors...but those of us who make it on Wednesday are going to give my marvellous Mum the send-off she deserves.

x

Niamh B said...

A beautiful poem, glad you posted it.

x

BarbaraS said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Rachel. But this is a good way to record things.

Eryl Shields said...

I really like this, it reminds me of a country and western song with its jaunty rhythm and sense of resignation to the inevitable.

On another note: remember that I bought a couple of sets of your poetry postcards way back? Well, I sent one set off to my best friend who I was able to have a good long chat with last night for the first time in months. And she couldn't praise your poems highly enough, when I told her I know you she told I must let you know they make her very happy.

Titus said...

I'm glad you're on the Bus as it wouldn't be the same without you.
Good linoleum poem, but I liked your Mum's, "you're a communicator, dear, that's what you are" best.

Hope it's a great day on Wednesday, we'll be thinking of you.

Rachel Fenton said...

Awe, Rachel, It's sad and lovely altogether.

Totalfeckineejit said...

glad you made it,fine poem, i don think you've missed a bus yet.I'm sure 'mum' would approve.Best wishes for wednesday.

Marion said...

All the best for Wednesday, your mum must have been so proud of you. xx

Poetikat said...

A moving poem, Rachel. It helps to maintain the usual endeavours.

I did leave a message for you on FB, but I doubt you saw it.

I'm very sorry for your loss.

Kat

hope said...

I'm going through that now with my aunt: she's ready to lie down and go.

I'm sorry for your loss. But your words described life in a way which still made me smile...a tad wistful perhaps. Memories are a good thing and not all are warm and fluffy...reality helps us appreciate those good times.

I hope things are as you wish for Wednesday.

Rachel Fox said...

I am reading all the messages and comments...just too busy and/or tearful and/or tired to get round to responding to everything just now. It's all going in though...all your good vibes are being stored up to get me through!
x

Peter Goulding said...

Great fun in the juxtaposition of the lines. A cheeky little piece in form if not in content. (The content is top notch, in case that reads wrongly)

NanU said...

My condolences for the loss of your mother. It sounded like a peaceful goodbye.

A beautiful poem, too. I like the way we're put into this helpless position - somewhat comic, certainly tragic, and yet serenely accepted.

Pure Fiction said...

Fair play to you for getting on the bus this week.

I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. I'll say a prayer for her and ye.

I love the simplicity of this poem, and the acceptance in the last line lifts the whole thing to a different level.

The Bug said...

I enjoyed the resignation of the poem - I'm going down & I know I'm not getting up again & I'm ready for that...

FYI - you don't have to be old to worry about being able to get back up again - between arthritis in one hip & a bad shoulder on the other side - it can be quite a complicated affair to drag myself upward again...

Frances said...

It's great that you were able to post the poem Rachel. I am very sorry about your Mum. I feel one can almost get a sense of her in your quote "you're a communicator, dear..."

Bill said...

I like it! Not easy to write a funny poem about suffering. It would be rather good if it was found, written on the lino in lipstick or something! :)

Enchanted Oak said...

Sending you good thoughts at a hard time.

sunnydunny said...

Full of admiration Rachel.
Colin x

the watercats said...

I can see this will be me in a couple of decades :-D My knees are fecked already!
Beautiful, if worrying, little poem :-)

Jeanne Iris said...

Rachel, this poem reminds me of my grandmother speaking. You captured the struggles of getting old very well here.

I'll be back tomorrow to give your song a listen. My best to you and yours.

Mike Wilson said...

You ARE a wonderful communicator Rachel. I love sending time in the company of your words and thoughts, it really makes me think about how I might articulate my own words and thoughts. x

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks everyone.
x