house of happy

Life adventures in prose and verse. Explorations of places, people and words. Stories and fun.

Friday, 26 September 2014

The Un-Daying

I throw days out of the calendar.
I disown them,
Dis-number and dis-month them,
I will not have them change year and come around again.

January 10, March 4, 6, 7.
April 27,
June 21, June 23,
February 23 and December 11.

And now
Alastair has gone and gathered his great verbs,
his skylarks and Scotlands,
his sun-sleeping Spain,
folded his lilting and returning dawns
to ride over the mist-imprisoned hill - away, beyond away.

That done,
I also have dismantled
September 21.



And if you really want to know
I’ll tell you what happens to some of the days
you think I’m losing
every year.

(some are poison itself and as such,
have dried themselves up long ago.)

Like leaves in October,
sated with summer
are all scent and honey,
memory distilled
and stronger every year.

An entire childhood to pick from, long summer days with cousins and a grandfather, and berries and song; with my lovely Maia who smelled of lavender and quince; who told me that thing about God and I believed her even when I didn’t believe Him. Who needs the measly muscle of March 4 and March 7, when they have Maia's hand - steel and paper, under a coating of primrose cream - to pull them from those howling, crumbling walls?

That Afrikaans rhyme Ingrid sang in the kitchen, my Inky in her ball-gown ready for a May ball, Inky in her good-girl shoes standing in a queue in London to vote for Mr. Mandela. With these moments – and I have so many more - I can build endless April 27s. April 27s with no cars and nowhere to go and Ingrid safe at home.

June 23s filled with one deafening heartbeat, Paulo's. Paulo  perched on the roof with a pouch full of tools and red plums. Paulo squinting the sun, eating a plum, plum juice on his chin and I know he is thinking Gaia, when I throw this stone in the grass below, make a tree grow.

December 11 and February 23. Together now, these days
Do. Not. Exist.
No room for them in my year. What room,
when Mum and Dad fill the Everywhere and the Always
and hide the hourglass away?

And now, September 21, away with you too! Shoo!
Leave me Alastair: sprightly, aglow
in the Dominican sun, showing me – in Spanish and in rhyme -
How to make bread,
ride bikes, read books, chop limes,
write poetry.


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