My body’s house has many rooms and you, my love,
are present in them all. I glimpse your shadow
in the mirror and your breath brushes my cheek
when I open the door. Where have you gone?
I walk from room to room, but when I seek,
I no longer find and nothing opens when I knock.
Afraid, sometimes, to enter a room, I am sure
you are in there. I hear your footsteps on the stair.
Sometimes your voice breaks the silence
when you whisper my name in the same old way.
How can it be true, my love, that you have gone,
that you have left me here alone? I count the hours,
the days, embracing dust motes to find no solace
in salacious sunbeams and my occasional dreams.
Comment: Another golden oldie, polished, rewritten, and revised. Today is Clare’s birthday and fifty-five years ago today we got engaged, on her birthday, in Santander, Spain. I wrote this poem a couple of years ago when she was visiting our daughter and grand-daughter in Ottawa and I was left alone to look after the house. I will be including this poem in my new collection, All About Ageing … in an age of pandemic, on which I am currently working.
My vision of absence and of the bereaved wandering, lost, the house the couple once shared, is sharpened in this age of pandemic in which we live. My heart goes out to all those who have suffered short term or long term effects from the pandemic. My premonitions and visions, my memories and dreams, reach out especially to those who have lost loved ones and who live in the daily reality of that loss.