I'll see her no more
That small figure framed
In her favourite armchair
Faint through the net curtain
On many a tired arrival.
She became too weary
To rise up and greet me
At the door of her small world
Where she insistently and rightly
Lived to the very end . . .
Letting myself in, just like
The home help and the lunch delivery
"Hello, hello - how are you today?
Oh you forgot I was coming?
Never mind; it's only memory . . . "
How she hated getting old -
Losing memories, becoming feeble -
But it somehow became her
As soft smiles of acceptance
Replaced her feisty challenges.
All gone now, though the Christmas bouquet
Still blooms with snow-white lillies -
The last I'll ever buy her -
A cyclamen still flames and glows
And hyacinths struggle into fragrant flower.
The Christmas cards still stand
Red, gold, silver and shiny
Testimonials to her from friends and family,
Mingled with framed photos of loved ones -
Not a single one of her, of course:
Too little ego, or too much?
She saw herself still as a flame-haired girl
And disowned the tottering grey person
On unsteady legs, with wrinkled skin,
Smoking another cigarette.
"I'll live here till I die", she proclaimed
And so she did, though she had
Little appetite for food or life
And sometimes secretly wished to end
The struggle and the fight.
She lived on her pride and determination
Appreciating the affection of those
Who knew she was a Good Person
No matter her want of diplomatic grace,
Or inability to say "I love you".
Actions spoke louder, much louder than words,
And now the silent empty kitchen,
The half-empty packets of biscuits and cigarettes
The brand-new lighter she still struggled to enflame
Speak only of loss, and sorrow, and pain..