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The marching man with dirty knees

28 Sep

As London wakes
You drink your breakfast
From an aluminium can
Another hungry sip
Adding to your already foggy mind
Your familiar morning haze
You with your dirty knees
And ripped jeans
Taking big
Intentional steps
A swerving stride
High legs
Marching man
Your scuffed hands
Are weaponless
But you are invincible
Marching into battle
Barking slurred orders
To invisible troops
An army of one
Striding across busy roads
To unheard beats
An unseen band
Marching man
Lifting your hand
A sharp salute
Honoring the invisible
A smirk on your face
Like a naughty child
Would you notice
If I stayed to march with you
For a while?
A few paces
In step
Your lonely battle cry
Saluting with you to the unseen
To the beat of the invisible band
I didn’t.
But the little part of me
That doesn’t care about intrigued stares
That I let you march alone

An ode to the man who didn’t ask

23 Sep
Sitting there
On the pavement
Against the wall.
Your concrete sofa
Your chaise longe
You sit reclined.
Legs outstretched into my path.
Exhuding an
Atmosphere of regality.
This is your street
You breathe through a
Smouldering cigarette
Not bothering to
Pull it from your lips.
Denying yourself the London air,
Ash threatening to fall on your
Marked jacket.
You don’t mind
Your outfit
A dusty street man’s,
Mismatched and well worn.
3 pairs of trousers
Rolled carefully to different lengths
A strange rainbow of colour
Against the grey of your pavement
You stare.
Moving only your eyes
As people open shops
Beginning their working days.
Fueled on good nights sleep and steaming coffees.
A different life
Ruled by ticking clocks and ringing phones
I wonder
What is going through your head?
Maybe nothing,
A simple fog of morning sleepiness.
Maybe jealousy or intrigue
At the lives of passers by.
Or perhaps bemusement at our complicated existence
But I sense a disconnectedness
A blasé
An unaffectedness
That says
This is my world.
You live yours
You do not ask of me,
Or speak
Or look
As I expected.
You don’t interrupt the moments I spend
Seeking my key
An opportunity to request change or food
As many would
Did you even see me?
Notice me?
I am touched by the irony of this
The lack of exchange,
You have turned the tables
The un-noticing
Becoming the unnoticed
This is my world
You live yours

Let’s pretend

19 Sep
The crunch of autumn leaves underfoot
I feel like a child
Let’s go into the garden
And play.
Throw armfuls of
Leafy confetti
Into fresh country air.
A winter wedding
An autumn snowstorm
Pass me my green wellies
Caked in muddy memories,
Help me find a sturdy branch
A ‘walking stick’
An explorers pole
Hold my hand.
Tell me stories of squirrels
That throw nuts
From trees
On unsuspecting passers by,
And hibernating doormice
Who curl under robes of leaves
Awakening when dew no longer threatens
Take me through familiar fields,
Past the stables and down
Into thick woods
Where our roads are
Hardened mud tracks
Cloaked in crunching
Carpets of brown
And burnt orange
Let’s climb stiles
Get stuck in mud
And laugh until our sides ache
Cows looking on
As we offer gloved hands
To pull each other out
We can meander home
When our legs ache
Or our noses turn Rudolph red,
To eat eggs and toast
In front of the spitting fire
As we watch flames dance
And lively coals jump
Onto the stone hearth
But here
The streets of London offer
Crunching leaves
Under work shoes and suited legs
Grown-up responsibilities
And laughter
Of course
But lacking that
Carefree tone
So Mum
May we come home
For a weekend
Leave our grown-up lives
Put on muddy wellies
And pretend

Maybe I shouldn’t have looked

14 Sep

I sat opposite a man on the train home last night. I looked at him.

Living in London, you get used to not looking people in the eyes. It’s a shame how I can share a carriage with someone, yet retract into my own little bubble – my paper, my iphone, my music, and get off – not having taken a second to look and think about those around me. To recognise them, acknowledge them. Sometimes I wonder if I could sit opposite a friend and not even know.

Anyway, last night I took a second to look at this man, in his suit, with his big briefcase. Hiding under his hat. And I saw these big, sad eyes.

A person.
A story.
A history.
You hold so much
Under that ‘travelling face’.
Journeying with me
The equally unknown.
Yet we share a space
A stare maybe.
So I glance.
Your eyes are sad.
You purse your lips
And lie back in your hat.
A mystery.
What are your dreams
Your thoughts
And hurts?
Who knows you.
Really knows you.
What do you want with this life?
Are you mad at what it’s offered.
You have gone.
Home perhaps.
I imagine you stepping slowly
Slouched with those sad eyes
Who are you
Travelling man?
As unknown to me
As I am to you.
We shared the space
On this train.
A moment.
A few stops.
But your eyes,
Heavy and softly glazed,
With what I imagine as
Unshed tears.
Will stay with me a while.

Label it

13 Sep

I wrote this poem on Sunday 12th Sep. In a park during watching my husband play a game of cricket. A friend was coming to join me, and I was in this awful mood. As a psychotherapy student, we are encouraged to acknowledge our emotions and feelings, even if we struggled to define them. I knew I had to get it down on paper, and even thought I couldn’t put my finger on it, it satiated my mood, and I felt oddly refreshed.

Is this a new emotion?
Unfelt by another?
Or is it a mixture
A cauldron of feelings
Both in sync
And painfully conflicting.
Joy and fear
Confusion and crystal clarity
Euphoric happiness
And debilitating sadness
That I cannot attach to anything