Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Never leave Me OR Homecoming

Since 2001 I have introduced all my books with, ‘Colour, creed, sex, sexuality…these are but part of a whole; it is the whole that counts.’

Now, I was recently informed by someone ‘in the know’ that it is politically incorrect to say ‘colour’ and I should say ‘ethnicity’ instead.

Having asked various people from various ethnic backgrounds how they feel about it, none said they were offended and most agreed it was yet another example of political correctness gone mad. One woman told me, “You’re white and I’m black. What’s offensive about that?  As for ethnicity, as far as I’m concerned, my ethnicity is the same as yours. I was born in London into a family of third generation immigrants. Yes, I’m proud of my great grandparents’ roots. But my roots are right here in London. Besides, I’ve got better things to do than take offence where none is meant. In any case, it’s not what you say that matters but how you say it, right?’

She is so right, as far as I’m concerned, but please feel free to email me if you have any thoughts on this.


Today's poem has appeared on the blog before and is one of several that I am reinstating; it was inspired by a conversation with someone waiting for a loved one to return from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Unable to live with the stress, my companion had sought comfort with someone else until realising that comfort is no substitute for love. It took a while, but she worked at getting her marriage back on track. She and her husband are expecting their first child in the summer.

The poem is dedicated to all those serving in armed forces abroad, regardless of colour, creed, sex or sexuality, and to their loved ones waiting for them to return home.


In a fairy tale wood,
dwarfed by leafy towers,
we planted seeds,
watched for flowers;
none did we see
that childlike summer
you promised me a love
to last forever

You went to war
(Iraq then Afghanistan);
I found another,
my heart a safer haven;
broken promise,
a fairy tale shot dead
for a soldier, kill or else  
be killed...

One night I dreamed
I ran among ruined towers
where dragons roared,
giants trampling flowers…
What of our seeds?
I had to save them or try;
nature’s needs abandoned,
like love, will die?

Truth to learn,
nature leaving no choice
but to return,
listen out for its voice
where leafy towers
like rousing sermons rise,
clouds rehearsing love songs
in lonely skies

All was much the same
(restored, glittering towers)
as you called my name
through late summer tears…
Back to war you’ll go,
yet never leave me, watching
love bloom, grow, anticipating
every homecoming

[Note: First  published under the title 'Never Leave Me' in Tracking the Torchbearer by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2012]

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