Thursday, 26 February 2015

The Kite, Metaphor for What-Might-Have-Been


Memories are precious and love never dies. But let’s face it. It is poor compensation for not having our loved ones with us and watching them get on with their lives.

Today’s poem is for families and friends left behind when a loved one dies. It is especially for parents who have lost sons and daughter; no parent should have to bury their child. Whatever the circumstances, death is always a tragedy for those left behind, but what can be worse than to be left with the image of a loved one meeting a violent end or never even knowing what really happened or having no body to bury…?

All knife and gun crime, but especially hate crime, and particularly among young people must stop.

Parents, teachers, social and youth workers should take every opportunity to lead intelligent, sensitive, debate so these killers realise they are not just killing a person but a whole family that will never be whole again.

There is nothing ‘cool’ about street crime. Young people who think it takes carrying a weapon to achieve street cred or even as a means of self-defence should bear in mind that someone could get so easily killed or suffer serious injury…and it could well be them.

Nor is time spent in prison anything to boast about. I once spoke with a young man who had spent time in prison but chose to turn his life around. I asked how it was in prison. He said unhesitatingly, ‘There wasn’t a day I didn’t wish I was dead.’ Thankfully, he is alive and getting on with his life in a very positive way. 

Every killer has a choice. Tragically, victims killed in the course of violent crime on our streets have no choices left. (I read somewhere that most killers regret their actions, but as my mother used to say, regrets are cold comfort in any language...)

THE KITE, METAPHOR FOR WHAT-MIGHT-HAVE-BEEN

No grave to tend, but a street corner
to leave flowers
where last they gathered
to reflect on your life, and send you
on your way

Faery dust, scattered in green fields
where once we children
loved to play; fond thoughts…
like the tail of a kite dancing in a breeze,
one long-ago day

Come twilight, more haunting shadows
marking time where Darkness
will have its way; no signs of life
in fields cruelly cut back, children gone,
lovers gone away

No grave to tend, but a street corner
to leave flowers
where last they gathered
to reflect on their lives, and send us
on our way

Kite, last glimpsed in a smoky breeze
trailing would-be memories...

Copyright R. N. Taber 2002; 2015      

[Note: This poem has been slightly revised (2012) from an earlier version that first appeared under the title,'The Kite'  in 1st eds. of  First Person Plural by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books 2002; revised ed. in e-format in preparation.]





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