In London #poetry #dVerse

Returning to London after 5 years
not the passing, but the standstill of time
hits like a double-decker bus
up front and personal
the past is present

What’s past is prologue
Christmas lights adorn Trafalgar Square:
where are you now?
Where were you then?
Already gone, too soon
sister Alison.

The sparkle and glitter of the gaudy baubles
did not warm but chilled my heart
as you lay in a hospital bed
I had to get back
and hold your hand
but could not bring you back.

Now, I hold my children’s hands
and feel the warmth return
to my heart, and the light
to my eyes, just
as it once shone in yours,
now shines in theirs.

© All Rights Reserved. (Line in Italics from Shakespeare, The Tempest 2.1.254)

Written for dVerse

Tonight, Dora hosts Poetics, and has asked us to write a poem of epiphany:

So in the middle of all the holiday activity, whatever it may be, imagine a moment of pausing, a still point of epiphany. Perhaps in that moment, you imagine the upshot of all that shopping and experience a revelation.

This made me think of a Christmas shopping trip in London when I was devastated by my sister’s sudden death and was simply going through the motions, as described in the poem Trafalgar Square Triptych. Returning to London more recently, I felt both the immediacy of that ever-present pain of grief, mingled with the warmth of healing and of spiritual growth.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

84 thoughts on “In London #poetry #dVerse

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  1. Such a beautiful and moving story Ingrid. Our Christmas holidays now are forever changed by the passing of some family members. I love that ending bit – feeling the warmth and light from holding the children’s hands. Thanks for joining in.

    1. I think I’m getting to that point now. The first Christmas after she died was horrible for me, walking around with a painted smile. But now the healing process has begun, at least!

  2. I like the way you portray loss and grief cohabiting with hope, Ingrid: the grief is still there but “I hold my children’s hands/and feel the warmth return”. The irrepressible nature of hope stands out for me.So beautifully captured.

  3. Family ties are strong, and your emotionally eloquent poem is personally very touching …
    “as you lay in a hospital bed
    I had to get back
    and hold your hand
    but could not bring you back.”

  4. This one was felt…” the standstill of time” what a line…and the subtle references or plays on that line that come back throughout the poem…when time stands still, and is seen jn your children’s eyes, bless them…the atmosphere in the poem is so ‘full,’ so that London itself plays a role, and I am always interested in the ‘background,’ the ‘setting the scene.’ Such accessible poetry, yours, which works both ways — accessible for the reader, and ‘to’ as well, reaching deep.

      1. Yes, the London you painted really had presence in that way, where time had stood still, and the image in my mind was similar to those warm paintings of rain at night in London/Paris. It does not take anything away from the tragedy, but rather gives the depth, and like you said, a spirituality. Will check the Blake poem…big learning curve for me …

      2. PS just noticed on Medium there is a collection of competitions every month. On the home page. I see there was in October too. This link comes from that and there was another one with $200 prize winning can send. Wish had seen earlier but never bother to look at that stuff. |sonnetcontest guess there will be more for December. Yep should have checked earlier.

  5. My God, we all have tragedies hanging on our holiday memories like malevolent tinsel. Your poem is very touching. One Christmas we flew down to Texas for Christmas. My wife’s father was in the hospital post car wreck. He died on Christmas Eve.

  6. Holidays seem to make us more vulnerable. Your grief is palpable but the warmth of your children’s hands brings comfort! I lost my father this year (elderly, not suddenly) and find solace in holding my new grand daughters. Thanks, Ingrid, for sharing this beautiful epiphany poem.

  7. So sorry for your loss, Ingrid. Nothing replaces a lost love one, but new loves of various kinds have a way of appearing, often when we least expect it. Life renews and so do we, given time.

  8. so very sorry to hear you lost your sister too young … death’s on these celebratory holidays evoke sad memories for many! London is so cosmopolitan, it holds a plethora of memories for most … well written

  9. i was bedazzled with the images and then gobsmacked after i reach your last stanza. the grief is palpable and what power your weaving gave those words. i am sorry to hear about you sister and i am sending you heaps of hugs from afar.

  10. I’m so sorry for your loss, and I can imagine how it affected the season and will always be a part of it.
    This struck me:
    “not the passing, but the standstill of time
    hits like a double-decker bus”

    But then seeing your sister in your children–warmth and joy, tinged with sadness.

  11. I was not blessed with a sister. I can only imagine your grief. I am truly sorry for your loss, Ingrid. Hope finds a way as you have so beautifully concluded with. 💝

  12. This was a great poem 🙂 I loved the last stanza,made for a great ending!
    “feel the warmth return
    to my heart, and the light
    to my eyes, just
    as it once shone in yours,
    now shines in theirs.”

    This was so apt!

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