Sunday, 23 December 2012

Shot In Black And White

A neighbour confided recently that he hates Christmas because he remembers Christmases long ago when he was with his family and they all had a great time. Now, his parents are dead while other family members are scattered across the UK and other parts of the world. ‘We have grown apart’ he said with a wistful sight, ‘and rarely see each other now.’

For some people, winter is a time for looking back at kinder, happier, better, days, especially those who may find themselves alone at times like Christmas which is meant to be a time of coming together in a spirit of love and peace.

The trick is to draw on the love and peace that once inspired us and let it inspire us into renewal;  just as spring always follows winter so, too, that springtime of the heart…if we but choose to let it go there.

Let's all bring some colour back into our lives, yeah?


The earth was white, the sky black,
one midnight in mid-winter
when I looked out of my window
to see a light snow falling,
thought I head an owl calling.
(But, no, mistaken, surely?)

Then I saw it, a silvery bird gliding
phantom-like through this curtain
of frozen rain, summoning an image
on a lace tablecloth gracing
our table, oh, so many years ago,
when we ate as a family

No family now, only a scattering
of memories like winter snow
piling on a branch by my window,
heaped higher even than regrets
these eyes glaring back at me deny
(or do they lie?)

Gone, the owl now, weary wings
but wistful, fleeting, moments
like ghosts at a meal table declaring
wrong is wrong and right is right,
classic home movie time shot in black
and white…

The wind is up. A blizzard throws
an angry net over glaring traffic
on the night shift, testing the weary
and fainthearted (re-asserting
an omnipresence lest we become
too complacent…?)

Must nature stand by, let Owl die
or may it yet wing to shelter?
As deceptive, any sanctuary in winter
as a cosy duvet inviting us to close
the eyes, bury the face, leave an owl
winging white lace to its fate

[Note: This poem has been slightly revised from an earlier version that appears in 1st eds. of :A Feeling For The Quickness Of Time by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2005; 2nd (revised) e-edition in preparation.]

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