Sunday, 24 March 2013

A Crying Shame

This poem has not appeared on the blog since 2008. I feel the sentiment if not the poem deserves an airing. I am so lucky, living alone as I do, to have a small, but reliable network of friends who would soon realize if anything was wrong.

Now, we may like to think we are looking out for family, friends and neighbours, but it is so easy to be caught up in other events, issues, whatever...and forget to look.


There are muddy hand prints on a gate
that groans as it swings in the wind;
footprints on a path lead to broken steps
rising to a weepy front door pleading
to be opened, local kids at play forever
ringing its dirty push button bell,
only to run away, laughing, screaming...

The old house is haunted, neighbours say
since the gruesome discovery made
of an old woman who lay dead in her bed
for more than a year, no one to shed
a tear or so much as notice her gone from
the daily round of shopping, washing…
regularly weeding, hedge trimming, going
about her own business like a ghost, less
inclined to socialise than most nor (exactly)
ostracised for this but, not considered
a neighbourly thing to do; small wonder then
these good people moaned to each other
about grimy windows, disgrace of a garden,
sickly odour of decay among weeds
grown tall and spreading, everybody asking
what on earth had got into the old girl,
high time perhaps somebody paid a call?

A good turnout at the funeral

[From Accomplices To Illusion by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2007

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