Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Turn of the Millennium

I have lost another friend. February was filled with sadness, and, to be honest, sadness is not something I commit to poetry. I know it's a way of comforting oneself, but reading such lines later brings it all back and I want to escape.

In 2000 a college friend died. I had not seen her for some years. She was an alcoholic and I must honestly say that I refused her invitation to go and live in her house and maybe start a voice school together because I could not face life with someone who tried to comfort herself with vodka and never found enough solace to stop drinking. What a waste! Like an old friend I visited last year, who - late in life - had married a drinker and was doing her best to keep up with him(!) - well, that's the impression I got. She laughed at me because I did not drink much alcohol. I've never really enjoyed it and would never want to get blotto to compensate for anything - blanking out pain and depression were never part of my programme. Alongside those alcohol misusages are, of course, personality problems I'd like to analyse, but won't.

The friend who died on 24th January 2015 did not drink any alcohol. She was ill with several complaints and went through a lot of pain and frustration for at least 2 years preceding her death. I'm comforted by the fact that she had a good life until her sickness caught up with her. And I'm sure she was thankful to be painfree at last. But what a price to have to pay!

So I spent half February in the UK, attending her funeral and being company for her partner, who was covering her own devastation rather successfully with actionism, and still is. 

I went through life never thinking it could end, but of course it will. What can I leave behind? Not much that will be of any use financially. But I write, I paint, and I arrange music (I'd compose more, but and at least I can get my arranged work performed by my chorus). I'm painting in oils now. I've spent my clothes allowance on equipment (mainly paints and brushes) this month. But paintings are energy. I can give my energy to anyone who gets or buys one of my paintings. And my novels amuse me, so that's a good reason to go on writing. 

But this is a poetry blog, so I'll post another older poem until the muse kisses me and I can write something new.


These poems are dated. I was, as usual, alone. I wandered the streets and went to the main square so that I would not be on my own when 1999 turned into 2000. Then I went home and switched on the computer. Everything worked. All the pessimism about the system not being competent to cope with a new millenium were wrong. Laughable now, but computer users were anxious!

 December 31st 1999

There will be no more Mondays for me,
For I will be sitting in the apple tree,
And  watching the way I used to watch.

There will be no more Tuesdays for me,
For I will be standing on the sandy shore,
And singing the songs I used to sing.

There will be no more Wednesdays for me,
For I will be walking through the woods,
And kissing the friends I used to kiss.

There will be no more Thursdays for me,
For I will be listening to symphonies,
And shedding the tears I used to shed.

There will be no more Fridays for me,
For I will be climbing the highest hills,
And treading the paths I used to tread.

There will be no more Saturdays for me,
For I will be whispering in the dark,
And telling the secrets I used to tell.

There will be no more Sundays for me,
For all is silent and still and peace,
And I am in the place where I want to be.

January 1st 2000

And now the infant epoch is born at last.
We have shed a tear for times of yore,
A droplet of mourning for tyranny and treachery.
Some have even promised to do better this time.

As midnight crept across the earth,
The sky was shot with a myriad of coloured stars
That almost eclipsed the heavenly ones.
But not quite, and only for a moment.

The silver stars that glimmer on cloudless nights
Were there before the age of man began,
And will be there when all our millenniums,
And all our centuries,
And all our Januarys have gone, forever
Lost in the myriad of stars we did not create.

January 2nd 2000

The party is over.
The streets are empty,
But the echoes of a thousand cheers
Can still be heard.

Nobody was invited,
But nearly everybody came.
Anticipation drove them here
To see what there would be to see,
To drink and laugh,
And pass the time of night.

I came, too.
I came alone, my footsteps hurrying and
“Don’t be late” upon my lips.
But late for what?

Unrecognized, I passed along,
My voice unheard above the deafening screech
Of pop music, artificially merry,
Crying out the turn of the year, century, millennium,
With all its legacy of guilt and misery.

A new beginning for all?
Another chance for me?

After the fireworks I turned my steps toward home.
Where did all the coloured stars come from?
Where did they go?
There is no moon, and not one of the silver heavenly stars is visible.
They are hiding behind the saturated clouds,
And I am hiding behind a mask of obligatory jollity.

I have survived.
We have all survived to tell this tale.

January 2nd 2000

I have seen the light
As bright as day and brighter,
But the darkness is brighter still.
Creating creation,
Burning manmade light and shade
For ever entwined.
I try to remember the new years of long ago,
When we raised our china teacups
And made our resolutions,
Solemnly discarded our shortcomings,
And vowed to keep our promises.

Each new beginning was but another ending.
Had I known then what I know now,
I would have treasured those endings more.
But fate decrees that I cannot revive them.
I only know that time cannot stand still
And did not stand still in those days, either.
But instead thrust me from that life into this one,
And will go on thrusting me forward.

There never was a turning back.
In the past lies the future.
Present and past give birth to that future,
But cannot nurture it.