Today is National Poetry Day. Two years ago I celebrated the day with a poem on this blog about World War One and The Somme and a link to teaching history. This year, I thought I would use a poem on a different subject entirely, although it has the same underlying theme of parting.
Written some years ago, it may have little literary merit, but surely the message of National Poetry Day is to encourage us all to write more poetry as well as to read more. for in doing so, we learn from others and about ourselves.
So, for what it is worth here is:
The revolving door sweeps us smartly
Into the chaos of that hideous, happy, hall.
‘Don’t leave unattended baggage’
Mother with babies, businessmen with phones,
Families’ katundu laden trolleys,
Merge together into a snake-like queue
A line of order, inching towards,
The ministering welcome of the check-in desk.
‘Unattended vehicles will be towed away’.
Stoically, the shuffling mass moves forward.
At the desk, the first interrogation waits.
Your passport, luggage, ticket,
Disappear for processing. Did you, didn’t
You, have you’. Do you really want to fly’
Terror and fear stalk the airport,
Shadowing the police clutching
Guns to padded chests.
We fear flying, they fear us.
I fear losing you into the
Slow snake that leads you to Security.
Shall we seek currency, eat
Unnecessary meals, or just go home?
I can, you can’t. Would that we together could.
A brief respite.
We sit across the table,
Wishing you won’t go, knowing
You will go, saying you must go.
Eyes meet, hands touch, minds remember
Other meetings, partings.
Between us cup and plate,
Detritus of a Last Supper.
Brown batter of a Ramsden’s cod,
Mushy peas and thick cut chips.
Yorkshire suspended like us,
While down below the endless procession
dribbles through Security to
Aberdeen, Paris cdg and Tel Aviv.
Together we contemplate
Departures, one home
Where no heart is,
The other to the
Mysterious misery of flight.
Too soon, stay one minute more.
We clasp together putting off
Not departure, but separation.
Too soon the TV monitors flash
Their urgent message, boarding
No lingering goodbye now, but haste
To disappear into that finality