better days

She has seen better days
loitered at the water’s edge
for an age, unclaimed and still
roped to a post, deftly settling in
when the river recedes to mudflat
then the tide seeps back, fingering the banks
slipping through broke-back curves
between ribs of wet wrecked decking
where shorebirds primly pick their way
and lichen and sunlight bequeath an amber glow
to her lilting tilted body

once a small whale calf of a row boat
lay alongside – a vague shattered outline it is now
in memorium to her homely comely
houseboat heyday

Frank prompts us to make a poem of Descriptive detail

Way to go

this way to the boats
high tide covers the footpath round the quay
a morning stroll along the boardwalk

It is the last Which Way Challenge from sonofabeach (many thanks for hosting til now) but the way goes on with San @ Wanderlust & Wonderment

Doolally tap

What is it the wind has lost that she keeps looking for under each leaf?”
Jim Harrison ~ Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry

Once I’d imagined slipping the net
an intriguing liberation to creation
then tipping through mesh into mush
fell into step with a half-crazed girl
straw bedhead nest of hair
fearful of disturbing birds

Mother had slithered down the plug
bathed herself away leaving only soap as residue
and all her wash things always so taboo*
– but an absolute absence makes no sense
days filled up with nightmare nonsense
potions for notions, spasm and spells
sylph-like voices spoke through cracks
a devil fandangoing in the fireplace
expelled with spit and watercolours
hurled headlong at the hearth

the first thaw began with the walls
they’d wave and waver, rubber to the touch
a padded cell of sessions, safe from harm
in long, lachrymose lulls, dripping with snot
we both nearly drowned
torn tissues fell as paper dolls
drawings featured formulae and burials
squiggles summoned sums, lines geometric
and ultimately a woman rose from the earth
covered in leaves

the wind had lost her mother’s voice
and secretly she taped our talks
for all eternity

*Mother had died of cervical cancer leaving a young family and a husband unable to cope. Evidently she feared contaminating her children who were forbidden to touch her flannels and towels etc

Dedication: For each troubled soul who must bond with a stranger and because therapist is not catalyst, it had to have changed us both

Title is British Army slang for an unbalanced state of mind (derived from the Deolali sanatorium, India) as my prompt for this Tuesday’s Poetics challenge is: Making much of Madness