Memories

Grandma's House

 

I loved to go to Grandma's house

When I was very small.

Those big old empty rooms upstairs 

Always seemed so tall.

I'd play up there without a care,

With just one chair, that's all.


Imagination was my friend;

I'd gladly play alone.

I'd be a pirate captain, or

A king upon a throne.

Then I'd be a wizard, who

Would turn things into stone!


My mother's voice would end my play,

Calling from below.

I'd grumble and complain out loud,

But then I'd slowly go

Down into the furnished rooms,

With coal fires all aglow.


Lemonade and chocolate cake

Would suddenly appear.

Grandma, with a smile would say,

"Here you are, my dear!"

I'd smile right back and thank her,

Then make it disappear!


Soon it would be time to leave,

And we would kiss goodbye.

Grandma would stand by the door,

A tear within her eye.

I'd turn and wave, and she'd wave back,

Then give a gentle sigh.


Copyright © Robert Haigh 2017









Author's Notes/Comments: 

 The Victorian coffeepot in the photograph was originally my grandmother's. She gave it to my mother and my mother eventually passed it on to me. My wife likes to use it as a flower vase (as you can see), but every time I see it I am reminded of both my mother and my grandmother.

Out with the Loathing, In with the Benevolence

 

The pain of being left behind has lingered inside you for years, years, years.

 

So you thought the patrons berating me weren’t bad enough, nuff, nuff.

 

I had open wounds all over my body.

 

And you dumped a bucket of salt on them.

 

You knew perfectly well how hurt I was before that.

 

Yet you tie a leash on my neck and commanded me to listen

 

Like the dog I was when I barked back at you.

 

 

 

No matter what my decision was, I was going to lose to you.

 

My attachment to you was the perfect gun for you to fire

 

Because it was loaded with the tablets that nearly did you in.

 

On that fateful day, you survived and I thought that true love was out of my reach.

 

You would have had the last laugh, but several days later, the joke’s on you.

 

I’m someone else’s now so tough luck and good riddance to bad rubbish.

 


 

You say you’re free of me,

 

Yet your memories of me have locked you up

 

and thrown away the key.

 

 

I know that because you have loads of trouble letting go of the past.

 


 

You can vent ‘til the cows come home that I never
made time for you, you, you!

 

Everything has to be about me, me, me!

 

But that was only the surface you scratched.

 

That’s the furthest you ever went.

 

It says more about you than me.

 

Hell, a beefcake could clear his schedule for you better than I can.

 

 

But his chivalry might be aggressive mimicry.

 

 

 

If he breaks your heart, it ain’t my problem.

 

Now that I’m out of your reach, you can’t touch me.

 

I’m mingling with the losers like I’m dancing in a nightclub in Italy.

 

It was a wakeup call to screw your shade

 

Because one of them loves everything about me.

 

 

It’s not looking the other way. It’s enjoying the person I was born to be.

 

 

 

 

Every day I don’t look you up online

Nor read your old messages, my memories of you hurt less and less.

While I can visualize you a decade from now

Still being stroppy about the delusion that I never cared for you.

Who knows? You could call me a cunt and still claim part of you loves me.

And you’re sorry it had to be this way.

 

But… fuck no! Let’s be real. You’re not sorry. No aspect of you loves me.

 

 

You played the sarcasm card on me. So how about a taste of your own medicine for a change?

Good luck becoming a psychologist with the attitude of a wack job.

Good luck getting that degree while you throw a fit on every single assignment you get.

Good luck handing that very same garbage you threw at me to a couple getting a divorce.

I can’t wait to see a patient badmouth you on Reddit and turn you into a court jester.

Maybe I did learn a lesson from you after all;

Knowing when it is time to let go and never come back.

Evergreen in Her Purse

 

 

She had pine

needles in her purse to take the edge off

Christmas. She held them for the memories

she didn’t own, but could pluck out of movies

like pine cones out of the snow to make ornaments —

decorated with bits of glitter, a bow

to represent a touch of hope. I would pull her close

and tell her she didn’t need the needles to feel something

as tangible as the snow on the ground. Fleeting

cold was meant to leave us

for the warmth of memories we could make on our own.

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Cabin Fever

The rain drums hard on the caravan roof. The kids

Are restless, and ready to flip their little lids!

They'd rather be outside now, playing in the sand;

I tell them it's too wet, but they don't undersdtand.


We play Snakes and Ladders, but not without some tears.

My sons don't like to lose; but then my wife appears

With lemonade and cookies. The boys both shout, "Hooray!"

Our board game is abandoned. "Now what else can we play?" 


I find a pack of cards, and start a game of Snap! 

I make sure I don't win (for I'm a decent chap).

Then they fetch their colouring books, giving me a break.

I read my magazine, but that's a big mistake!


The boys sneak up and ambush me, ruffling my hair.

I'm taken by surprise, while sitting in my chair.

Amid this rough and tumble, my wife returns once more:

"Hey look! The sun is out! Let's all get through that door!"


Copyright © Robert Haigh 2017







 





Author's Notes/Comments: 

This poem was inspired by memories of family caravan holidays in Filey, on the Yorkshire coast.

Bluebell Wood

Within this treeless space once stood

A knot of trees, quite beautiful to see.

In childhood here I played, in Bluebell Wood,

Little thinking that in time it could

Be torn away from me.


They cut down every single tree

And levelled what was once my secret den.

Bluebell Wood destroyed then by decree.

A highway runs through where it used to be.

My mind drifts back to when...


Wild bluebells carpeted the ground,

And friendly trees seemed happy to by climbed.

No better recreation could be found

Than playing in that wood with joyful sound,

As childhood reason rhymed.


Bluebell Wood, gone for good — or bad.

Progress rides roughshod over childhood dreams,

Caring little for what we have — or had.

"The future waits for no-one here, my lad!"

The past just dies, it seems.


Copyright © Robert Haigh 2015









Author's Notes/Comments: 

Photograph by Douglas Haigh. This scene — on the edge of Blubell Wood — no longer exists. The whole area was cleared for the building of a new section of motorway.

Old Man

The driver at the traffic light is waiting for a change.

The new kid on the block is feeling kind of strange.

The sacrificial lamb still doesn't know its fate.

   An old man sits thinking he's probably too late.


The clock in the hallway struggles to keep time.

The poet in his study is searching for a rhyme.

The oak tree in the meadow is reaching for the sun.

   An old man now ponders and thinks his race is run.


The blackbird on the fence is happy just to sing.

The goldfish in the bowl knows barely anything.

The youth who once was lost has somehow found his way.

   An old man sits alone, with nothing left to say.


The jury can't decide what verdict it should reach.

The speaker is confused as he bumbles with his speech.

The king has lost his crown, and thinks of what he had.

   An old man remembers when he was once a lad.


Copyright © Robert Haigh 2015




 

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These Paths and Lanes

 

These paths and lanes I've walked along

So many times before.

They've barely changed throughout the years;

Still steeped in days of yore.

Old memories cry out to me,

With tales of family lore.


The cottage where my parents lived

Lies empty, looking sad.

I smile as I recall once more

The happy times we had.

But that was oh so long ago,

When I was just a lad.


St Martin's church, with steeple tall,

Stands proudly on the hill.

My uncle Joe once rang those bells,

And they are ringing still.

Old Joe's long gone  he's buried there,

Along with auntie Jill.


The farmland, stretching out for miles,

Has hardly changed at all.

The cattle grazing in the fields

Are just as I recall.

Same trees  the ones I used to climb 

Still stand there, by the wall.


I turn, then walk back to my car

Parked down beside the green.

I think about the friends I had,

Now gone, or never seen.

A one-hour drive and I'll be home.

She'll ask, "Where have you been?"


Copyright © Robert Haigh 2017







 

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Dad...

 

Dad…

 

All memories thundered on me.

 

Breathless to  bear the pain

 

How you showered the love and joy

 

As father and friend.

 

 

 

Tit-bit talks of hot and cold

 

Will remain as eternal joy

 

How crazy you were at times

 

Merciless for poor grades

 

And Santa Claus for other tears.

 

 

 

Too many hardships

 

As no one ever seen

 

But you held your pride

 

By touching the crown of town

 

You were minimal on talk

 

But your actions had spoken louder.

 

 

 

Still people talk your bravery

 

A man of great conviction

 

A soul of angel and so on

 

What not all, fall short of words

 

But for me....I miss you Dad.

 

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Remembering Dad

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Farm Fresh

Farm fresh

 

and only slightly frozen

you had rain dripping from your eyelashes
and every word you said ended in a promise
even I knew you couldn't keep.
But I remember.
I remember when evening fell on our shoulders
like ice in a scotch glass
and the nicotine stains on your fingers looked like bruises
from trying to hold time too tightly. My hands are bruised.
My shoulders. My back. My thighs. All
blotched with purple-yellow petals from a field

filled with the growing shadow of the mountain where

you stood,
shadows stretching from beneath your toes in my direction.
When you reached your hand towards mine

I knew I would fall into that darkness.


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