Figure à l'ombrelle, 1905
First words after Christmas are difficult. Lethargy has us tightly in its grip. Start early and soon, I was admonished with a few to counteract the effect. So, here I am.
Margot, my wife, celebrated a significant birthday on the 19th
of December. I have had the custom of writing something on these occasions so I did again this year. I had pause to reflect on our 38 years of knowing each other. What shape would that take in a poem if I could write it, I wondered. There were so many thoughts
and so many things to say. In the end, having read Carol Ann Duffy’s wonderful “A Formal Complaint” I took the form, a Sestina, and what follows emerged. I hope you enjoy reading it.
I wish you all the very best for the New Year against
all the odds of a spiralling world.
Sestina for Margot
She sits at the keyboard, a talented
pianist, her hands glide in a caring
thoughtful way as she reads the piece, happy
her fingers still make that lovely
tone and she is able to show a strength
for which she is known and is pleasing.
Evening finds her in the kitchen pleasing
the family with dishes her talented
all the time caring
that the young ones eat well, are happy
on their way to bed, sharing their lovely
kisses and smiles that give her a strength.
As partner and companion she shows strength
of love and affection
her. He is awed by the talented
life-long friend who continues her caring
of everything. She creates happiness
in such a way that feels rich and lovely.
She makes life long friends who find her lovely
to be with, who marvel at the strength
of their relationships, which greatly pleases
her sense of a good life, to have talented
people around her who are also caring,
set out to make others happy.
Her mothering created a happy
home for her daughters who were lovely,
funny and delightful, who could reach a strength
of that was especially pleasing being
to their mother who
nurtured their talents
throughout their lives in a way that was caring.
Life has not always been very caring.
Events have challenged the core of her happy
being, shredded the fabric of her lovely
way of doing,
threatened her inner strength
created a time that was not pleasing,
which she survived because of her talents.
Such a talented, very lovely
partner so pleases, continues to care,
gives strength to their being,
makes them happy.
December 19, 2018