Jess 3

August 8, 2007

Another re-draft…again constructive crit welcome.


The day he left I stayed in bed for 2 whole days.
For the first 4 hours – I did not move.
I stayed on my side beneath the duvet
and listened to the thud as the door to my flat
banged repeatedly, against itself – that day,
it was unseasonably breezy for summer.

I slept for a couple of hours
and the wood on the latch was a lullaby…
but when I woke it was dark
and the thumping was loud
and I thought that he might have returned –
but he hadn’t. And I think I must have cried

for hours…but I really can’t remember
how long it went on; it was cold,
my skin was hot, my face was wet,
I could not breathe for the mucus in my throat,
and my bed – had stuck to my skin
like a death shroud. Of course,

I did not sleep that night.
I watched the light from late day grey
to midnight black, I hugged a sack
like pillow – and recalled how I thought it a cleche.
And on the morning – of the second day,
I wondered if I’d been forsaken.

I think it was around about then that I gave him up.
I remember the moment: it was like –
a wish bone cracked – a synapse crushed,
a fine skin of bright white milk,
split like blood – Trust,
is a fragile thing and that was the moment

that I think it stopped. I got up;
wiped the dry black stains beneath my eyes
on wads of snowy cloth. I made myself a cup
of tea – read a little in my head
soothed my mind with the T.V guide,
distraction like a salve, for love.

All day I tidied up.
I filed away his things,
His books of words,
his clothes his frames his images.
I took them in my arms
and calmly let them drift. That night

I slept like one who’d never slept before.
I slept right through to a Sunday room
of new morning. And as I opened up my eyes
sunlight streaming through the blinds
I remember thinking – this,
is what it means to be reborn.

I wasn’t expecting the knock at the door.

A sudden gust of wind
that seemed to cause the porch
to break its latch – proved in fact
to be my love – standing in the hallway like a hero,
returning from a war
and expecting to be thanked.

He seemed surprised when I told him to pack.

I can still remember the moment, his chest
bunching like a sackful of apples,
heaving with impatience and seething with frost –
Love,I said,it shouldn’t hurt-
and it’s not about sacrifice
and it’s not about loss.

I’ve never liked tests and I’ve never liked bluff
and I really,
I told him believed –
that what fails to kill you –
can only make you strong.

When he finally left I broke my fast
on a cup of wine and a plate of bread.
I showed my wounds to no one
and I’ve never liked sardines.


8 Responses to “Jess 3”

  1. Really good.
    There is something inherently likeable about all of your poetry.

  2. embarrassingfriend said

    You alread know I’m a pedant, Lydia, so I hope you won’t mind this, even if it’s not enormously constructive: I assume ‘cleche’ is meant to be ‘cliché’?

    Second attempt at being constructive: it’s a moving poem, but I think it could do with a car chase.

    Actually, I really like it, but I don’t want to look like a sissy.

  3. Kelly said

    Hi Lydia,

    I came across your poem about Elzabeth Heyrick, I was wondering whether it was possible to use this poem for a roleplay we are doing for the Abolition of the slave trade?


  4. Hi Kelly,

    That would probably be fine. Would you mind emailing me about it? Always good to know where your work’s getting out about to;)

    My address…


  5. linda hart said

    Lydia i thought this poem was too long and needs some drastic editing. I think though that the subject matter was one after my Hart! it does go on a bit – too much, althouh this can be seen as a part of the poem, i personaly got fed up with bits of it, and just wanted to skip, jump and hop to the end. It wasn’t up to your usual standard. I think you are better than this poem allows you to be.

  6. Hey Linda,

    This site’s really just about playing with ideas-as such I would never want to judged by what are really just rough workings. My finished stuff and my blogged pieces are two very different things-and as I think I said in a previous post, the idea may or may not ultimately work. Thanks for lettiing me know how it felt to read anyway.


  7. Oh-forgot to ask-which bits specifically felt over long/superfluous? Would be really good to know and might help me work on any further editing.Thanks again for reading it and taking the trouble to comment.


  8. Hmmm. It’s odd that you’ve had the criticism you’ve had, because I’ve just been reading your poem and admiring your loose, conversational style, and contrasting it favourably with my own much sparer style. I think this sort of thing can be preference at times. There’s some bagginess here, sure, but the overall effect is strong. Too much charged language in a poem this length can wear one out.

    I have to say that even after rereading the poem, I don’t really understand it that well… there are elements I get and elements I don’t, but when something’s clearly well written I tend to think this is my fault.

    I may get you to go through it with me in person. Exhaustively. Are you looking forward to that? 😉

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