Tag Archives: Ageing

The Race

The Race

The clocks have been changed
The days stay longer
In their place
Already
I am losing pace

The year begins
To tighten screws
Already
I begin to lose

A quarter of this year
Has gone
The year to me
Hardly begun

No matter
How I come and go
How I struggle
Toe to toe

No matter
How hard I try
To reconcile
To live and die

No matter
How to allay fear
To harmonise
The speeding year

No matter
How it’s dressed in rhyme
Already lost
The race with time

The Easter weekend always comes, to me, as a kind of marking-post in the year.  Winter is over, we are now in the middle of Spring, with Summer fast approaching.  I’m sure it must be a phenomena common to a lot of people, but, as I head towards my late sixties, I seem to be astonished, year after year, by how speedily the year seems to be passing.  I started having the first thoughts about a poem on the subject when we changed the clocks a few weeks ago, to mark the change from GMT to BST, and “The Race” is the final result. 

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Gaga

THE FLATS (6): GAGA

These flats corral more than the
feckless young, the drug-sellers,
the drug-takers, the indigent,
the “underclass”, the immigrants
from near and far. These flats
also hold the ageing, the ancient,
the gaga.

Three o’clock in the morning,
the full-voiced cry.
Three o’clock in the morning;
no reason why.

“Mummy, Daddy! . . . Mummy, Daddy!
Mummy, Daddy! . . . Wheee!”
The elderly woman in the flat below me;
at 3 o’clock in the morning, she has woken me.
She has hair of steel, eyes of stone;
sturdy legs of sinew and bone.
At 3 o’clock in the morning, she has broken me.
“Daddy! . . . Shot!” A thunderous silence.
“Daddy! . . . Shot!” The full-voiced cry
echoes, questioning how and why.
How and why did her “Daddy” die?

I face her; plead with her to stop.
I mask my fear, my fright.
She plants her feet firmly;
spoils for a fight. Her grey eyes
glimmer with unearthly light.
“You shouldn’t speak to me like that,
it ain’t right! Lots of people
talk to themselves in the night!”

Three o’clock in the morning,
the full-voiced cry.
Three o’clock in the morning;
no reason why.

Another poem in my on-going sequence about events and characters in the flats where I happen to live.  Although I am in the middle of writing this sequence at the moment, some of the occurrences happened quite a while ago.  The events that inspired “Gaga” occurred a few years ago, and the elderly lady mentioned in it has long since passed away.  I attempted to write about it in the form of a short story, about a year ago.  The story took three weeks of hard labour to write, but I must admit that – after expending all that sweat, strain, time and trouble –  I feel I’ve captured the essence of what happened much more effectively in this short poem.

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