21 February 2020
My young neighbour stands at the corner of her ruined home
To look across the line of its past;
A line of “firsts”.
A short line, but still the pain is sharp and raw.
So she turns the other way, and sees the line of its future.
It stretches far.
A beautiful home, and strong.
It will nurture her family, keep it safe.
It will hold within its walls
all the memories they make
and the reality of dreams.
The promise it holds is bright enough to eclipse,
the pain of loss.
I stand on my corner
looking down the long line of loss.
It stretches far, a sesquicentenary
to my great grandfather’s book,
inscribed with his name
and destined for a granddaughter-
a shared passion across five generations.
Framed on the walls
displayed on the shelves
stored in boxes-
the fragments of how we live,and love.
The bright promises still in our neighbours’ future
can be traced in the ashes of our loss.
A deep and painful shade is cast
over all that is left.
So I too turn at that corner
to look the other way.
Not such a long line
( after ‘three score and ten’).
There is sunshine here
But the shadows remain.