Keep Climbing

“There’s a wall in front of you.
It’s tall, it towers over you.
You have to climb it.
In order for you to get to where you want, you have to get to the other side.
So start climbing.
You will fall, at some point.
It’s inevitable.
But does that mean you give up?
If someone drags you down, do you stay down?
No matter what, you climb.
And you do not stop until you are on the other side of that wall!
You do not quit.
Do you understand?
People will always try to stop you or distract you.
But you just keep climbing.
You don’t ever give up on reaching the other side of that wall!”

I Wished For You, Too

The years have been hard,
A dullness, a dark room without any light.

Hands always stretching out ahead, chasing,
Everything always just out of reach.

I thought of you when I needed some colour in the darkness,
A flash of hope, of what I might one day find.

I always had you in the back of my mind, a faceless silhouette,
An imaginary hand to hold, someone to have my back.

Always a hope, an imaginary person who could never exist,
A mind broken and unrepairable, always wanting the impossible.

A decade later and I found ways to light up my own self,
Ways to heal my own soul.

My imaginary person no longer a hope to be held onto,
A dream lost, acceptance and independence taking its place.

A few more years come to pass,
A complete loss of hope, of self.

A change of scenery,
A new found freedom, new beginnings.

A new person,
Appearing out of nowhere, a shock to the system.

Like a breath of fresh air, a sudden cold shower,
Life was no longer just a dim light, colours were returning.

So many words, positive and freeing,
Butterflies and rainbows and everything else in between.

Nights spent talking, sharing,
Happiness no longer seemingly out of reach.

Fate always finds a way,
Destiny, it seems, cannot be avoided.

Sappho

I loved you, Atthis, years ago,
when my youth was still all flowers
and sighs, and you — you seemed to me
such a small ungainly girl.

Can you forget what happened before?

If so, then I’ll remind you how, while lying
beside me, you wove a garland of crocuses
which I then braided into strands of your hair.
And once, when you’d plaited a double necklace
from a hundred blooms, I tied it around
the swanning, sun-licked ring of your neck.
And on more than one occasion (there were two
of them, to be exact), while I looked on, too
silent with adoration to say your name,
you glazed your breasts and arms with oil.
No holy place existed without us then,
no woodland, no dance, no sound.

Beyond all hope, I prayed those timeless
days we spent might be made twice as long.

I prayed one word: I want.

Someone, I tell you, will remember us,
even in another time.

( https://public.wsu.edu/~delahoyd/mythology/sappho.html )

Unnoticed

The bangs of the cannon can be heard from the walk up
A smell in the air that baffles my brain as it tries to place it
The canal, calm, as people walk and the taxi boat floats by
There is a plane up ahead; I wonder when it will be me up there looking down
Parents and children walk with tired intention
Another milestone achieved, silently unnoticed.
Even by me.

Anxiety is

Anxiety is: not catching your breath
Anxiety is: not wanting to move
Anxiety is: needing to move
Anxiety is: taking sugar in your tea, but not reaching over to lift it from the pot
Anxiety is: shaking so much that the whole world seems to move on its axis
Anxiety is: fingers placed in ears, on eyes, on neck
Anxiety is: digging nails into legs just to have something else to focus on
Anxiety is

 

One Day

You always told me, “One day…”
Trying in vain to prepare me for these days.

In the early days, I notice your hat is still there – I make a mental note to ask if I can keep it,
But then in the blink of an eye – it is gone.

I take your collection of ties without waiting for a better time,
Folding them up neatly in a bag.

I think of the sadness in your eyes whenever you spoke of a family who was long since gone,
Always preparing me for, “One day…”

I never expected ‘one day’ would feel like this,
Never imagined I would understand so accurately that sadness I saw within you.

Weeks later, we are standing outside our house,
We are all here, waiting.

Liz announces the arrival of the hearse with a deafening, “He’s here.”
Nic and I lose composure, eyes dropping immediately to our feet.

I sit in the funeral car, with your daughters – the magnitude of that moment hits hard,
I am the only grandchild in the car and I wonder, does that not speak volumes?

The house is empty,
I am showing prospective buyers around.

They want to change everything – strip it bare and start anew,
I want to drag them out but instead, I just remove myself.

“One day, I won’t be here anymore. You’ll be telling your grandchildren about me like I am telling you about mine.”

 

One Day

We had a conversation once, once.

Surrounded in a world where every single person was talking at me, loudly.

You spoke to me, calmly.

Of all the differences to be made, to me.

It was you who made one of the biggest, the loudest.

I heard you and I continue to hear you, always.

One day I plan to tell you, one day.