Thursday, 19 January 2012


While love bears its own punishment,
tearing at its open wound,
the State ‎covets all, taxing loss as profit.
Unkindness of ravens
tears at scraps, steals all that shines.

I am the guardian of a desecrated shrine.

In the violence of her absence,
I have lost all bearings but one:
I know my duty
to get up each day
to execute.

Documents to sign,
forms to fill, fees to pay,
our home to sell,
detritus of three lives, (his, hers, mine)
to throw away.

Grief bears guilt already:
wronged and ashamed,
night-time beatings of self-reproach
overheard -

there they are again, the rats rustling in the hedge -

remembrance should be sweet poetic distillation,
not polemic spleen.
Already I'm at war and not believed:
it’s heresy to say a hospice is cruel.

Fiscal sideshow bob twists the knife:
London postcode alerted Exchequer
to seize poor widow’s mite,
disallow orphan’s contributions
to mouse-hole not entered in a rent book;
a one-bed flat and two lives mortgaged
must now be given up.

The feudal lord reclaims his fief:
he envies her castles in the air,
lovelier than all his banks and revenues.

I must put a value
on her death-bed,
on books and pictures,
jewellery and clothes
that I had given her,
love markers
of birthdays and feastdays,
now easy pickings for the State,
rolling her up at her end of days.

“Be grateful for our bureaucratic system
giving you tasks to distract you from grief" -
pharoahs would have laid a curse
on modern, prating, white-collar thieves.

Papers heap on the floor -
"make piles" probate officer said.

Kneeling over them,
at signs impenetrable
as petroglyphs on sarcophagus -
I'll pay the price later
for not "carrying over" -

I am bereft and punished for it.

only daughter - 

how did love bear so sad a child?
and executor,
crouched in the paper pocked cell
that had been her home
and should have been her shrine,
harried and reviled
by the neighbours,
"Mad bitch mad bitch
Whose laughter turns to crying",
I wait to be
executed, too.

Part Three