So many things I almost did,
So many roads I almost took,
Then something, someone came along
To save me from myself.
I think of the almost times
When I almost said something hurtful
and risked losing a friend,
When I walked into the road without looking
and almost got knocked down,
When I almost went out and left the milk pan boiling
Or the lights blazing or the tap running,
Luck – or my guardian angel –
held me back from the brink and all the things I almost did.
Today I want to be extravagant
To do, to be, to experience something extra
something outside my usual dull round
Of daily dreary activities
Meaningless actions, getting nowhere, achieving nothing.
Today I will break free
And for once be extravagant.
Wandering outside my comfort zone
Trying new things, exploring new possibilities.
But what shall I do?
I know, I’ll buy a cream meringue and eat it with a double cappuccino!
Compass needle pointing to North
Never wavering, never deviating
Solid, strong, unchanging, unbending.
Showing the way to the uncertain traveller.
Some people are born with an inbuilt compass
Know from the start where they are going to.
I’d like to be one like that
But alas I am not.
I struggle to make sense of maps
To plot a compass bearing
To set the map so it faces North.
Perhaps I need a Satnav
A firm voice telling me
“Turn right”, “After one mile, turn left”
You have reached you destination.
I lie awake
An ache like toothache
Will not go away.
Nothing feels as empty as a double bed
With a single sleeper.
Nothing as empty as a solitary life
Where once there had been two.
I rise, dress, prepare to meet the blank day
I set two places for breakfast.
John Milton wrote this sonnet “On His Blindness”. He had daughters to whom he dictated his poems – I sometimes wonder how they felt about spending their time acting as unpaid amanuensis to their father.
When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”
After I had a cataract removal operation I couldn’t resist wrting, not exactly a parody, but a sonnet in the style of Milton about my own experience. I had was plenty of friends telling me what an easy and painless operation it was . (I need larger print!)
On Her Cataract Op
When I consider how much time I’ve spent
Of my allotted three score years and ten
Waiting in hospitals and wondering when
They’ll tell me the prognosis what it meant
In words I understand, so I’m not sent
Adrift in vagueness, neither screen nor pen
Of use. When will I see things clear again?
I ask in terror, life is brief and time but lent.
“Fret not, they tell me, you’ll be find indeed.
Relax, this surgeon is among the best.
The op takes only minutes, there’s no wait
Admittedly, at first it’s hard to read
But soon your eyes will pass the hardest test
Trust me, this new perspective’s really great!”
This was one I made earlier – much earlier – when I attended a creative writing class at Lancaster university.
Make your face up,
make up your eyes,
blend the colours,
paint the skies,
gild the lily until it dies.
Mask with mascara betraying eyes,
lengthen the lashes add to the lies,
brush on the blusher, don the disguise,
put on a brave face, a sage face and wise,
colour the lips but hide the eyes.
Make up stories make up lies
save your face, shut off your eyes.