Friday, 12 August 2011
This is a poem wrote about how I see a perfect lifetime. Of course, it's rarely as perfect as this, but we can dream, can't we?
Old Tom and Millie sat with their backs
to the draught that cut under the door.
The flames in the fireplace danced on the logs;
Tom and Millie were happy, though poor.
They'd lived out their lives in the simplest of ways,
they'd gathered and scraped what they could,
Millie raising a family of three fine young lads
while Tom was at work in the woods.
Gently rocking while knitting some warm woollen socks
Millie dreamed of the summers, long gone,
when the boys would play out in the fields roundabout
and she'd stood at the sink with a song
that her mother had taught her when she was a girl;
the song of the cuckoo and wren,
and with no further prompting, her lips formed the words
and she started to sing it again.
Old Tom looked up, his face red from trying
to out-stare the eyes of the fire,
and he looked at his Millie, saw the young girl he'd courted,
and his heart filled again with desire.
Forty seven long summers and winters had passed
since they'd married and moved to this bower
of love and contentment, and striving, and hardship
and he thought, if he'd only the power
to relive his life, then he'd change not a thing;
he'd go through it all as before,
and his memories unfolded, in his mind youth returned;
he was strong, and a woodsman once more.
Felling great Oaks and Beeches with Daniel and Ben,
wielding cross-cut, and axes, and froe,
cutting Hazel and Ash for the hurdles and gates;
planting young trees, and watching them grow.
Those trees were now tall, but by no means mature;
they'd outlive both him and boy Jack,
and his grandson as well, and yet more generations,
before they succumbed to the axe
His two younger boys had both left the land,
but boy Jack had taken his job
when he'd hung up his axe for the very last time,
and taken his place by the hob.
With his memories fading, he returned to the husk
of his body, once supple and fair,
and the room was now silent, apart from the clicking
of needles and creak of the chair.
The fire was just embers, the clock chimed out ten,
and Tom eased himself out of his seat,
and he sought out the key from the vase on the mantel;
wound the clock, and turned, shuffling his feet.
“Well Millie” he said “I'm away to me bed”
“I'm now coming , my Love,” she replied
as she finished the turn of the heel of the sock
and laid her knitting aside.
She rose, quite unsteady, and reached for his hand
and she squeezed it, and kissed him , and said
“you're a handsome old chap, Tom; the love of my life,
Come on now lad - take me to bed”