A Mother’s Grief and Contours of the Night

To see another’s grief but to remain / Apart, is like witnessing falling rain / Dripping down on the outside window pane / Whilst you stay snug and dry.

A Mother’s Grief

The grass, heavy with wet beads, lay down soothed
And kissed the ground below. Gravid shapes moved,
Black shadows in darker night, all allied
In the cover of obscurity. But on one side,
Where fence met hedge and only mud was found,
A light shone. In the corner, a cow lay bound
At head and hoof by ropes and human weight.
She bawled and groaned, which led on to create
A shudder echoing through her dun flank.
All of us stood waiting, time turning blank,
With our faces lit up in the pale glow
Of moon and torchlight. It had gone on too
Long now. Birth and death, old life and the new
All hung in balance. In the silent sound
Of night my mother sat, her hands around
The cow’s neck, veined and thin, whispering sighs
In her velvet ear. And then the calf cried
Into the raw air, tongue bulging, eyes rolling.
But alive. The vet turned controlling
And pulled the calf out, and up, and over
The fence and shook. Grime splattered the clover,
The redness gleaming in pools on the grass.
“Sorry love” he said “It’s had its last”.
The mist had thickened, and no longer did
The trees etch patterns in the dark. We bid
The vet goodbye, and I was left alone
With the corpse, the two mothers (one my own)
And the sweet stench of mingled blood and heat.
Both of them refused to admit defeat.
To see another’s grief but to remain
Apart, is like witnessing falling rain
Dripping down on the outside window pane
Whilst you stay snug and dry. I felt mundane
For one had lost her passion, one her child.
My existence seemed to rub it in. I smiled
Sadly and turned away home to naive
Slumber. Leaving them, two mothers, to grieve.Contours of the Night

In the house where I was born things have changed
And in the once-loved blackness of the night I fall.
Years of memories have grown smudged and stained

Making me mistake stale air for closed doors, inert I range
Tripping over raised tiles in the smothered hall.
In the house where I was born things have changed

And on her nightstand Classics hide, upstaged
By the new self-help books which lie much-thumbed, ‘Give Love your All’
Is favoured. Even her memories are stained,

Those replayed in photos which still hug the walls neatly arranged.
The posed smiles, the awkward teeth, that first crawl
All in the house where I was born. Things change

It is in their nature. But this deluge of rain,
Is vexing, though the hushed walls yearn for it enthralled
And the windows licked with wet grow stained

Leaving me groping for sight. Her and I are estranged
From what was, though we’ve tried hard to recall
The house where I was born. But things have changed
And years of my life rot in the attic so smudged, so stained.

Leave a Reply