Benign banter

It has been a time of renewal, a time of shifts and loss and mourning, a time of giving and holding others, a time of allowing self to be swept aside. My father in law passed away on Dec 1st, one short week earlier we had finally moved house, the nights were long and cold, I packed and unpacked, we haemorraghed money- my husband was a selfless soul endlessly on the road caring for his father and mother, answering endless telephone calls- moments lost, tablets forgotten, repeated conversations, fragments of life recurring then receding, we collected groceries, cooked meals, later we watched as he listlessly slept and shouted and screamed in some other life, some other world crying through pain for help and searching for security and struggling for each long laboured breath until he was gone.

Each day I have gone to work, in my new job, loving the company of my new colleagues, welcoming the benign banter of everyday life, desperate for a smidging of something that resembled a slower pace, a calmer moment, welcoming the newfound calm of our homely little house, genuinely craving the solitude that I know will energise and bring renewal. The moments where the sky in all its splendour is the most treasured and important thing, when the cold chill biting at my fingers and toes reminds me of the joy of life, longing for the frozen earth to yield to spirited snowdrops and there to be enough space for me to savour the solitude that I love so much.

January brings snow

and frozen slivers of ice

Witch Hazel shivers.

© Alison Jean Hankinson.

 

 

This is for D’verse. Love to all and Happy New Year.

Photos Hank Kendal 068

In these moments where we live and breathe.

It has been a complex year and all I know is that many of you out there will have faced your own tough challenges, some that have been overcome with grit and determination and others that have almost broken you with the weight and depth of their difficulty.

There were days this year where I genuinely thought that there would be no resolution, that the interminable darkness and despair would swallow me whole, that my worthiness had been buried never to resurface under some massive cumbersome rock that could not be shifted.

I learned that it is important to feel wanted and needed and worthy and that for me these things come from the work that I do and the relationships I build with the people around me.

I learned that I need to feel connected and secure and that for me comes from having a home and a place to be in the world.

I learned that heartache and heartbreak are cruel masters that spare no-one and that all around me there are people whose stories would make my own look like a walk in the park, that we all need kindness and compassion. That a smile and a hug are the simplest gifts that can give someone a brighter moment in their darkened day.

I learned that many of us fear death, and that at the end it is not dignity that matters but the holding of the hand, the soothing of the brow, and just knowing that someone sits beside you.

It is this moment that matters, not the money, or the glamour, or the furnishings, the shadow of our former life or the lure of future success, but this very moment.

It is the simplest action of human understanding that matters, listening carefully to those around us, sharing their journey holding their hand as well as hoping they will hold ours, not the politics, the rhetoric, the arrogance of selfishness but the humility that is born from suffering, enduring and surviving.

I learned that it is important to be kind and compassionate to oneself and that every moment is a taonga to be treasured.

Namaste as the year draws to a close.

May there be moments of peace in our life.

© Alison Jean Hankinson

Homecoming

In the pleurisy of a winter’s morn

My love for you skitters down the cobblestones

Glides past the children sliding in the snow

Seeks to guide you home-

It knows no borderline.

 

So take the silver latch-key

from deep inside your pocket

Kick the snow off your dubbined boots

and step inside to me.

Your war is over.

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson

I wrote this a long long time ago. I wrote this long before Dave went to Basrah. I wrote this before I spent the long lonely nights sat on the kitchen doorstep with a glass of wine in hand- wondering if he would ever come home and if my girls would ever see their dad again.

My biggest fear was that he would die and would be alone in that moment of death in a foreign and hostile landscape.

He and those he served with must have had similar concerns and I know that sometimes when he went out on dangerous missions he would leave notes for us under his pillow in case he didn’t return.

In the words of Wilfred Owen:

“The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est

Pro patria mori.”

On the temple steps at Nan Tien.

Once upon a heartbeat

Your small hand held on to mine

Once upon a full moon

When the midnight stars did shine.

 

Once upon a heartbeat

My child I gave to you,

Everything my heart held dearly

My dreams and wishes too.

 

Once upon a heartbeat

You walked with head held high

You were brave enough to stand up tall

Your wings were strong enough to fly.

 

Once upon a heartbeat

I watched you stride away

Grown up, confident and brave

To make it your own way.

 

© Alison Jean Hankinson

for d’Verse.

For Ellen.

 

 

 

Not so lost in translation

At d’Verse this Monday we were discussing translation and poetry.

My daughter Ellen’s favourite poem as a young teen was the translated version of Past One O Clock by Vladimir Mayakovsky and it has also become one of my favourites. Mayakovsky was a playwright as well as a poet, he often satirised aspects of “the state” and found himself in conflict with the authorities. He reportedly took his own life in 1930 aged 36 although there had always been some doubt cast over the timing and nature of his demise. Both he and Lilya Brik had affairs but even after the relationship ended they remained close.

I have no idea if it is a good translation but feel that it is most beautiful. Having lived in NZ I realise that often it is not possible to create perfect translations, so for example some phrases in Maori are more than just translatable words, a poem is a Taonga, which literally means a treasure or something that is highly valued, but the word Taonga is a much more accurate description it carries a sense of the sacrosanct.
Anyway I have to let you read the poem to understand its poignant beauty. It was left as part of his suicide note.

©Alison Jean Hankinson.

Past One O clock
Past one o’clock. You must have gone to bed.
The Milky Way streams silver through the night.
I’m in no hurry; with lightning telegrams
I have no cause to wake or trouble you.
And, as they say, the incident is closed.
Love’s boat has smashed against the daily grind.
Now you and I are quits. Why bother then
To balance mutual sorrows, pains, and hurts.
Behold what quiet settles on the world.
Night wraps the sky in tribute from the stars.
In hours like these, one rises to address
The ages, history, and all creation.
©Vladimir Mayakovsky

With love to you all. XXXX

Sounds of silence

Footfalls through the frost

Whispers on the wind,

Stillness in the stars,

Grubby chubby little hands

Seeking out shells on the shoreline.

Moments of magic in motherhood.

Memories fall like raindrops from the skies

Teardrops in my eyes

as I cherish every second of your lives.

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson

Love you always wherever you may be-Mumma.

 

I think I have been silent for quite a while and now it is time to break the silence. I realise that so much of what I am and what I have done with my life and what I have become is linked to becoming a mother.

For me there was never any doubt that it was a fundamental part of what I held as important-not excelling in a sport or becoming a great leader or even the top of my career but giving and nurturing as best I could new members of the human race. I didn’t always do the job well, but I mostly did my best with the time and resources that I had at my disposal at the time.

I was always clear in my own mind that each would become their own person and make their own way in life and that in some respects all that I was doing was giving them some tools for their life basket and a safe place to grow. So it was a sprinkling of knowledge, a touch of high spiritedness, add in resilience backbone and compassion for others. I always wanted them to fly the nest and soar in the winds in their own little worlds build their own castles in the air and thrive and survive and have soul.

They have moved into their own lives now, almost effortlessly without a backwards glance and yet I know that they will always be connected. I don’t think the umbilical cord is ever truly broken and just as I will always carry my own mother in my heart even though she is long since gone I think they too will always carry a part of me in their hearts and so the story goes, the ebb and flow, mother to child.

Time passes.

Withered

Her hand frail against the withered fronds as she rearranged the flowers

For time had sold them short.

 

Joyful

Her youthful stance and gaze, as glorious bride in the gaily painted photo-frame

Captured in the stillness of time framed by the care-home mantle-piece.

 

Anguish

Forgetting fettered fragile moments of family-time,

Lost forever in the timelessness of a fretful mind.

 

Peacefulness

Her pain receding as the hands of time hold her soul

Serene against the backdrop of a moonlit sky.

 

© Alison Jean Hankinson

This for poetics at d’verse. We were asked to explore something we couldn’t touch. It is coming up for the 10th anniversary of my mum passing away and she never got to be old so she never experienced losing her memories.