Mournful in lilac

You are going to ask: and where are the lilacs?
and the poppy-petalled metaphysics?

I’ve neither imagination nor Mediterranean mind
for such a question – only the Norse notion
that pastel and bold never mix
that Syringa Springs are all the more sweet
paving the way where papaver blazes with desire
and a kind of fire stolen from Olympus

Because men have battled for grounds
dripping humors into the very earth they stood for
poppy has taken metaphysical shape
black as bile to the core
scarlet and sanguine in a mass for the dead
requiems to paper thin mortality

Seeing these metaphors transplanted to context
yours is no discarnate poetry fleeting as a fad
nor baroque conceit heavily laden in odes
where death itself is undone as a poppy dream 1
– you heard dust settling with an unsettling peace
and people craving melodies that match the picturesque
but the poet mournful in lilac refuses such communing

© Laura Granby 2016

1. see Donne’s “Holy Sonnet 10: Death be not proud”

An answer to opening lines of Neruda’s “I’m explaining a few things” and uniting with others at Poetry Pantry


July 1904

Dear Mr. Underwood
Rose Cottage…how good
that sounds far from the Strand
London bridge and our grand
old city. Hope you like this card
sending by way of a safeguard
for our usual holiday away at
Margate. Put out the welcome mat
6.15 at the railway
See you Saturday

Yours sincerely
Sidney H.G.

© Laura Granby 2016

I have 3 albums of postcards that my grandfather collected as a boy from 1904-10. This London bridge he would have crossed countless times before it was sold in 1971 & rebuilt in Arizona. He did not finish his postcard to Mr Underwood so I have completed it for Kerry’s poetry challenge: ‘Lets send a postcard’

An anxious wait

Time hangs heavy with the wait.
Should have charged my mobile before I left. Now I’m really out of touch.
I check  my watch, wondering if it’s the right time. The face is blurred – have to burrow into the rucksack for those cheapo readers. It’s 2.55 p.m…yes, the hands are moving.
Have I got the time right though or even the right day? I’m sure we agreed 3 p.m. on Tuesday. Is today Tuesday, is it really just before three o’clock?
Searching faces in the alien crowd for the familiar – right to left and back and forth, scanning for a crumb of recognition.

Excuse me Sir, do you know what the time is?”
Oh good – thank you. That’s what I thought
I daren’t ask what day it is – pick up a paper and check. Reading will help to pass the time anyway. Tuesday 26th July – the news is as bad as always. Impossible to concentrate – sweaty hands and shaky too – hard to hold the paper still.

Are they coming by car – I remember they had changed it for something newer. What was the colour, what make was it? What if something has happened – a breakdown, an accident.
What if they don’t recognise me? Have I changed all that much? It’s surely only been two years.

Actually it’s only been about 15 minutes – calm myself down.  Do the the Chi Gung stance – feet slightly apart, shoulders down, arms gently relaxed at the side, head up, chin slightly leaning to the chest. Breathe!

I chuckle.
Of course this is just the ancient anxieties of the peripatetic child,  waiting for Dad at the school gate, getting lost in the crowd that time, told where to go, taken places, decision-less, square peg…

The world around starts to blur and feel distant. I’m losing recognition of where I am. A strange woman is staring at me, She’s not even vaguely familiar and yet is holding out a hand. Maybe I look as sick as I feel.
“Hello you must be Joe. I’m Paula, Your aunt asked me to pick you up as they had to go and do something. Hope you haven’t been waiting long”

With a surreptitious wipe of my my hands, I return her greeting, mustering as firm and manly a grip as I can: “Oh only a short while – I pass the time people watching”

© Laura Granby 2016

Whetting the writing juices with The Tale Weaver prompt: ‘Waiting’