Turn right at the crossroad.

Infinite space and time separates what I was then to what I have become now.

I don’t even know if I became what I was supposed to be,

Or if I was always supposed to be what I became.

It is as if the space I occupy is still connected to the child that I was but my awareness of who I am has given me a different form. A different format.

I am learning that the only thing that is truly certain is that nothing will remain the same, it never does.

Our time on earth is so short, and how strange it is that a life can come and go and there be so very little left to demonstrate it’s existence. A tombstone, a photograph, a name in a narrative. Most of which will be erased with time and have no connection to the real essence of the person that lived and breathed and walked the earth.

When mum died she lived on in our memories, and possibly in some of our actions. Part of her continues to stretch into the future in what can be remembered by those she left behind, but what about when we are gone, and our memories are extinguished, eventually even the photographs will become meaningless, they will gather dust in some box and occasionally see the light of day as someone struggles to identify who these people were and what their link to the present and the future is.

Earlier this month her eldest sister Rita passed away and it was like losing another part of her, almost like whilst Rita was alive there was still some small connection back to that house in Waddington Street, still someone alive who remembered mum coming into the world and shared childhood pleasures and treasures, someone who shared part of the same story.

They lived in post-war poverty in the back streets of Salford. The kind of poverty they endured would be difficult to comprehend in our modern world. Perhaps it was this poverty that gave them the drive and resolution to step out and walk tall and try to make their own way in the world. Which all three of the sisters did, Rita Shirley and Anne. (my mum).

It was the same urban landscape in which Greenwood was to depict the impact of the Great depression in Love on the Dole. The same urban landscape that was demolished and swept aside in the slum clearances of the early 1960’s to make way for high rise suburbia and what became the equally tarnished Salford Precinct.

Eventually these stories will be cast aside, abandoned, no longer memories but trash that is no longer connected and meaningful to anyone left alive.

How sad. Done. Gone. Cleared. Deleted.

It feels like I am the memory keeper and that I have to keep some of the stories alive.

© Alison Jean Hankinson

Perhaps we are grieving…

Some days it is harder to find the buoyancy, it is if we have all been stopped dead in our tracks. I wonder if it is because we are grieving, we are all grieving and in truth most of us know that at this point in time it is impossible to identify exactly what we are grieving for, but we all know that whatever is gained something has been lost.

Solitude and isolation, they are two very different experiences. I am adept at solitude, and to be honest on the whole I find it pleasurable, I can occupy myself with so many endless tasks and activities that are meaningful when I am alone and it doesn’t detract from the experience-but isolation isn’t solitude.

Isolation is more than being alone. Isolation is being removed. Being removed from society. Being removed from the social activities that are normally just the mundane mecahnics of modern life. The bus journey from the park and ride. It is a shared moment or activity with others, people who actually have no connection or meaning to your own life other than to share that 5 minute rattle and ride before another dreary day at the office.

We took so much for granted and now we find we are grieving for the mediocrity of our lives, the cup of coffee at the train station cafe, alone but yet with others, all equally alone. Such solitude was bliss, people watching, relishing the froth and hum of the social lives being played out and paraded alongside ours.

The gossip, the whisper, the other lives passing us by that reminded us that we were not one but part of a whole. All those other people. Now we are insular, we walk by on the other side of the road, we try not to raise our head or speak. We avoid the smell of another’s cologne or the hesitant brush of a human hand across our shoulder.

We grieve for our loss. We long to be in a crowded room, aroma of roasting coffee, sweet sound of idle chatter, music playing in the background, a smile across the room as eyes meet and for a fleeting moment share the understanding of what lies between them. We grieve for real human connection.

©Alison Jean Hankinson

The Visit

He hung his cloak upon the hook

And snook into her room

He gave a welcome smile and then

His love lit up the room.

 

The visitor sat beside her as she slept

He smoothed her pain away

He gently mopped her fevered brow

And for her soul did pray.

 

The sunset glowing in the west

The day drew to a close

He took her tortured soul in hand

And exchanged it for a rose.

 

As morning sun lit up the room

Her family finally gathered

Her soul had passed across by now

Shared memories were all that mattered.

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson

This is for d’Verse poetics.

P1060248

Are you going away with no word of farewell?

 

Mother

Died suddenly

Bereft beyond belief

I mourn her untimely passing

Tears shed

 

Still night

Stars beguile me with their beauty

My heartfelt loss immense

Grief engulfs me

Silence.

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson

This is for d’Verse poetics. It is a reverse cinquain? My song choice was Tom Paxton. “The last thing on my mind”.

Tom Paxton

It’s a lesson too late for the learning
Made of sand, made of sand

It will soon be the anniversary, she passed away in 2008, suddenly without saying goodbye, she was 64, and I was on the other side of the world and didn’t even get home for the funeral. We all feel it still. She was my mum.