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A collaboration over too much coffee.
coffee and pen

06 November, 2004

Wife

I’ve watched her now for some weeks.
Limbs leaden, eyes stripped of mirth,
she moves like something fathoms deep; and when she speaks,
her voice scrapes the bowels of the earth.

I’ve watched her, as I said, and wondered
what fell stroke of fate had thus laid her low:
left her precious garden plundered,
sucked clean her laughter’s marrow.

For this is no common travail, no dark
family ghost come back to haunt,
nor strange cancer leaving its mark.
I try christening this ravage: I can’t.

Not getting far, I try to tease a smile or two
out of her desiccated face. Fool, or worse, that I am,
I blunder on, seeking a clue:
But she, once confiding, shuts up like a clam.

And then, suddenly - the penny springs the lock.
Unawares, unbidden, salt stings her eyes,
and all’s revealed: the discovery, the numbing shock,
the sordid trail of lies

which mocked her credulity, the webbing of deceit.
I look at her anew, powerless to quell
the raging gale within her, unable to meet
her tortured gaze, her desolation’s hell.

God knows what home she goes to now,
or even whether it’s one any more…..
Does she sulk and rant, kick up a wifely row,
revile her rival, call her a whore?

And the children…do the daughters know
of their father’s perfidy? That their mother,
believed so fondly loved, nay, adored so,
has been forsaken for another?

As I said, the Lord alone knows.
Nine stanzas down, the affair’s already remote
as I tidy up to close
this writer’s gloat.

***

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6 Comments:

Blogger annie said...

I like this - for the most part.
The last two lines... maybe just a little bit forced. The effort to rhyme shows, and siggests a lack of cohesion with the rest of the story... can't you come up with an alternative to 'writer's gloat'?

08 November, 2004 13:00  
Blogger SPECKLED_BAND said...

Damn right, Annie. Except that the last two lines were meant as a deliberate distancing measure. But your point is valid, and taken :)

08 November, 2004 21:11  
Blogger Pye said...

Liked the build-up and the heaviness of the mood settled on me as I came down, but was somewhat spoilt by the 'writer's gloat'. I agree, lose that part.

09 November, 2004 18:16  
Blogger Nyssa said...

This is beautiful... do you have more of your works online somewhere?

12 January, 2005 20:12  
Blogger Nyssa said...

This is beautiful... do you have more of your works online somewhere?

12 January, 2005 20:12  
Blogger Nyssa said...

there's something quiet, subtle and starkly honest about this one and about "the colour of love"... what inspired these... am truly impressed!

12 January, 2005 20:16  

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