Friday, 1 June 2012

Poem A

We never really bothered with New Year
– Or Valentine’s day, come to that –
But always we were ambivalent about New Year.
We did go to parties when invited,
It would have been churlish not to.
Left to ourselves we would take a drink
At midnight
To see off the old year, acknowledge the New,
And that was it.

We had been war children,
Had known the precariousness of life
At a very early age.
Remembered when New Year had brought dread
Of what might happen in the months to follow
And was a time of desperate prayers instead.

It was some time after the war
With family re-united
That my Aunt Rhoda determined
I should experience a “proper” New Year;  –
Steamrollered my Mother into allowing me
To travel to Trafalgar Square
With her & Uncle John in their car.
It was exhilarating to be in that melee of people,
Scary to be in a stationary car
Rocked by exuberant revellers.

When the clocks struck midnight
And the bells pealed out
And the haunting sound of fog horns
Resonated from the river,
Aunt Rhoda turned to Uncle John and softly said
“This is the year I shall die.”
She did not intend that I should hear,
But I did.

And it was.

So no, we have never really bothered,
Much, with New Year.
At last year’s New Year
For the very first time
We didn’t even bother to stay up.
We went early to bed.
– Strange, that.
As if subconsciously we knew
It would not be a year to welcome
But of course, that was something
We did not know.

Now January comes again
But the beginning of it holds none of the memories
That overwhelm me on other anniversaries,
When I remember our love
And how we celebrated it.

I am glad now
That we never bothered with New Year.



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