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Posted Tue Mar 10th, 2009 9:10pm Post subject: On the Edge again
Here is another poem from my late daughter's Sheffield anthology, 'On the Edge'. I particularly like this one for the picture it conveys of a quiet evening passed, a couple at ease with each other, the one silently observing the other. The style is fluid but the jarring rhymes draw attention to the stark and serious reflections. However, it is also a love poem and its conclusion resolutely optimistic.

‘Strands of History’
(For Peter, who is studying law, and doesn’t like poetry)

I lie down here on the floor
Reading a Polish poet’s
Lament for the war:
Her rhymes raw
As a cattle-truck floor
As a slamming door.
She writes of Time’s crimes
Drawn in the night
On the wall
And the rattle of trains;
Of blueprints for Engineered Death
And a New Dawn;
Of lives shorn bare
And torn;
And the pain
And the shame
Of still living and writing at all.
Meanwhile you sit at the desk,
Head bent, intent,
Reading Law.
International Relations –
The machinations of States
Delineated and defined
Alongside these less structured lines
Which cry
Of railway stations,
Handkerchiefs waving
Exile, hope
Of reconciliations.

You say you don’t care
For poetry.
Can’t tolerate ambiguity
Of words and meanings
Thrown around chaotically,
Poems to you, I think, must seem
Like houses made of straw:
A waste of effort,
False refuge in the storm.
Yet watching you , I’m sure
Your soul is clean, wide and pure,
And what is more,
Believe you may, one day
Without fanfare
Or fancy metaphor,
In the fire of your humanity,
Help forge anew,
Straighter, if not true,
The twisted strands of History.

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