She sits like my mum. Sat on a chair by a bed.
She sits as though she was deep in thought,
gently patting a crease on her neat check skirt.
On her bedside cabinet, alongside untouched fruit and chocolate,
from a dark wood frame bright young eyes laughing beam,
in faded fifties sepia new lovers happy being.
And here, she sits alone, her life’s love gone.
One of few remaining of the bright young of that greatest of generations.
Of those who saw the rise and fall and rise of tyrants.
Watched Europe war then unite then divide.
Felt the chill shiver of a cold world on the brink.
And in a blink a life lived.
And reward for those few left, to depart this earth to a lonely scared Covid death.
And here, sat old in this cold ward, to heal, I pray.
That same face that same smile.
But from a sadness in her eyes,
I saw she wanted hard to know me.
And as we sat with our hands clasped tight.
Face to face, son to mum, mum to son.
From the depths of that once crystal mind,
with a strength born of strength,
in a voice as clear as a cold blue sky.
My gone dad’s words uttered in my mum’s sweet voice
“I won’t give up. We don’t give up. I won’t give up.
We don’t give up”. A mantra for a life.
That will to live born of love.
Love given and received.
Love that drags the soul from dark despair.
And even in that awful confusion a love that never can be taken.
- short listed for the Janet Coates Memorial Prize