RHYMES&REASONS

Observations, Thoughts and Reflections on 21st Century Life

Tag: Death

The Bridge

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You wake one morning and sense a change, a slight shifting of the sand,

a murmured whisper, the faintest touch upon your hand.

Was it the waking from a dream or the mourning of a death,

was it joy anew of passion found or the drawing of first breath?

Was it the void of emptiness or vast realm of possibility,

was it the final release or acceptance of futility?

With a backward glance I view the bridge where yesterday I stalled

until the night stepped forth and accepting as it called

I gave surrender as it carried me across.

http://www.rebeccapells.co.uk/

The Somme 100 Years

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The Somme 100 Years

1st July 1916 marked the start of this bloody battle

57,470 casualties

19,240 died

And that was just the British

In a single day.

Today

in a fractured  Great Britain

on the cusp of cutting ties of friendship with Europe.

Least we forget the terribly consequences of political failure.

Peace must be prized above all else.

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(Installation by UK artist Carl Jaycock)

Life – Where is Thy Meaning?

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‘Afternoon Blues’

One of the most asked questions ever.  And well into the 21st century it remains unanswered.  Even Google falters at this one in an age where image and instant reign on a glorious and exalted unsatisfying high.

For the last six months I have been slowly but surely dismantling the material elements which made up my late father’s life.  The process is almost complete, a few final loose ends to tie up and then all semblance of his daily life will be gone and only memories, photographs and a few small heirlooms will survive.  You would have to look hard to know he had lived and breathed on this earth for 92 years.  What meaning did they have for him – perhaps his four children, three marriages or his Christian religion stoically observed Sunday after Sunday. I will never know.

Both parents gone and you seriously begin to think about your own mortality – the creeping weeks and months which so rapidly descend into years.  Don’t let anyone tell you that time doesn’t speed up the older you get – I so does!  And yet, with my father’s genes and a brisk prevailing wind I may well see one score year and ten more.  Thirty plus more birthdays, thirty plus New Year resolutions to make and break.  Thirty plus more chances to live meaningfully.

The thought both elates and alarms in equal measure.  On days when things are going well  that doesn’t seem long at all –  just over half as much again as I have already skipped through – not long into which to squeeze the rest of my life!    On others when all seems bleak the time stretches gloomily into a distant grey horizon – oh my, at least half as much again as I have already stressed my way through –  how will I fill those long hours and days, keep the anxieties at bay, avoid the blackest clouds and stumble my way to my final hour.

We are cajoled, coaxed, coerced and consumerised into believing that a state of constant happiness is our goal.  But the foundation stone of capitalism has become our stumbling block as the constant seeking of happiness proves forever elusive.  We try to access it with things, we view it as a destination to be reached and once there we can reside for ever and a day.  But I suspect that state cannot be sustained, and is unlikely to provide the meaning for which we search.  I don’t think I would want it that way.  The meaning and purpose of our lives can often be found in the darkest corners, in those hours which seem the most bleak.  But when we eventually emerge into the light once more oh how much sweeter.  Like the colours in a painting, the light shines so much more brightly when placed next to the darkest hue.

The meaning is in the doing, in the striving, the anticipation and in the possibility. When we push ourselves beyond our comfort zone, when we are prepared to take a risk, when we allow ourselves to step beyond our familiar threshold and let go.  Those times we spend alone, absorbed by our activity and undistracted we truly live the moment.   These are the experiences which paint our emotional memories.  Sometimes they burn us, sometimes elate but they are soaked into our soul just as the warmth of the sun will transfer the image from a negative onto the salt paper, the fine details captured for posterity. These are the ones which we will recall when we reach our eleventh hour.  These are the details which give life meaning.

‘Afternoon Blues’ by Rebecca Pells

available from https://www.fineartseen.com/product/afternoon-blues/

The Journey

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Yesterday I rose before daybreak to return home to Shropshire from Dorset in the UK, where I had been staying for a few days to attend my 92 year old father’s funeral.  The usual four hour journey became six due to fog, intense wind and rain and flooded roads.

Weather and thoughts seemed to merge and reflect each other’s mood with each slow mile I travelled.   At times I could not see my way forward but neither could I return.

Reluctant to rise this December morn

at once willing, wanting to be gone.

But to leave him behind yet I am torn.

Out into the light not yet born

for it holds still death’s time done.

Hours are long, the road is short

veiled as I too by dense dark haze.

The wheels turn as my mind too, wrought

with turmoil as child and I fought,

cradling the infant with gentle gaze.

Refusing to be settled, the infant made cry

even as I soothed the adult joined child

“depart not my father, you cannot die.

Leave us not with questions why”

in unison now with sentiment wild.

“You cannot leave, not yet, now not.”

The question hung, then tore the fog apart –

“did you love us or did you not?”

The infant lay back in rocking cot

once more quiet, carried in my heart.

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Parallel Time

In recognition of National Poetry Day, I’m re-posting a poem I wrote last December.  Sadly it is as relevant today as it was then.

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North. East. West. South.

Instant. Happening. Plus one and real time,

Parallel worlds and lives which don’t chime.

Twenty four seven, channels to choose

Inward we turn, money to loose.

Pools of champagne, pools of blood,

Encroaching. Unwanted. Drought and flood.

Which world is mine in parallel time?

Reality TV talent to spot,

TV for real – someone is shot.

 Christmas delivered, targets to meet,

Harvest failed, kids in bare feet.

Toy penguins emote season’s first frost,

Polar melt – the arctic is lost.

Which life is mine in parallel time?

 Big Brother House. Ok! Hello!

Charnel house, Sierra, Aleppo.

White House secrets outed old lies,

Foggy Jungle King, Malala Peace Prize.

No arms, no legs, no head to crown,

Bloody Sunday; Cyber Monday death in town.

 Which conflict is mine in parallel time?

North. East. South. West.

Lives of celebrities to whom we aspire,

 Suicide bombers few can admire.

Knives quick to draw, turkeys to carve,

Minors in designers . . . others will starve.

Action man sold out. Tragedy! Child cries.

Boy soldier shot. Tragedy. Stumbles and dies.

The choice is mine in parallel time.

The Circle of Life

Green eyes dilute with age, my feline friend conveys a dignity far greater than mine.

A pull bonded by years both knowing it will end, at least in this physical realm and time.

Preparing for what I know must come and yet, part of my destiny too.

Sharing these last hours although different than I, the magnetic tug endures, not to be parted from you.

And yet I must let you be free.

She senses my sadness, how hard to let her go but with an unspoken ‘it’s okay – this is the way it should be’.

This circle of life.

I leave her to sleep, to choose her own time,

But my desire to be near I gently disturb, gathering her weak body warm, close to mine,

her plumpness diminished revealing the curve of her ribs and contour of spine.

I drink in the sweet smell of fur a memory to recall at some distant, unimagined time.

Her purr once given so freely now comes raspy with effort but offered  to reassure.

Still she gives more.  My precious one.

  No longer able to lazily stretch, white tummy exposed to enjoy the May sun

but lying sphinx-like a position to endure, five minutes or more.

The birds once prey now chatter and chirp, keeping a distance borne of respect.

Do they too sense her gathering end?

The pure joy of having known and shared a love.

Emotion  poignant with loss, etched with privilege of witnessing life waned

and laced with the inevitable sadness to come.

The circle complete.  My precious one.

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