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Richard Longstaff: Beyond Watford - disability arts online
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The Unseen / 7 March 2014

photo of a brown butterfly with white spots

A Speckled Wood butterfly photographed in Pleasley Park Wood, Nottinghamshire. Photo © Richard Longstaff

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In my previous poetry blog A Natural End To Things I asked is it better to lose someone from your life knowing they are still living, out there but no longer part of your life? Or would it be easier to except if they were dead?

The Unseen - deals with the second part of the question, the dead. A good friend of mine lost his mother at the same time as I was losing a son. Theirs was a distant relationship made closer by her long term illness and his need to care for her. 

Yet even with love and care there was a inflexibility about their love. He would only visit on certain days and she would only ring at certain times. He felt anger at her for not being there for him as a child and at the same time he felt guilty at not doing more for her. 

The poem is their story seen through his eyes. He finds that after she has died he had so much he wanted to say to her, the dammed waters of the final stanza show this. Stanza one deals with all the small ways he showed his love for her, the small paths, the intestines, complicated, weaving love that took on many forms, every day love of cups of tea and idle chatter.

Both poems answer the question in their own ways. As the poet you may feel I should have an answer to the question I set. Sorry, I don’t. Loss is something we all feel what ever form it takes. Getting over it, coming to terms and moving on is what is important.  I hope that answered the question. As always thanks to all readers and feedback welcome. From somewhere up North, love, peace and poetry to all, Richard.


The Unseen

Oh this love that knows no limits and recognises
No boundaries, following small paths that unravel
Like the intestines of a Goliath.
Leading to the briefest of spaces soon forgotten and
Yet always in the soul.
This love, nurtured from earliest recollections to now,
The present.

Oh this love that holds strong in the winds of the unseen
Tempest, crashing, roaring at the flicking edges of the
Light,
Up rooting and toppling, bowling, breaking all that is
Within reach.
This love, slow to creep into the mundane everyday
Normality of living.

Oh this love that lays like a well walked dog at the
Feet, fire caressing the soft underbelly as with
Weary yawn it sinks into the rug.
Comfort, a warm pleasure from knowing it is always
There.
This love, found in unspoken pauses and written in
Condensation of the pane.

Oh this love that lacks flexibility and thus claims no
Malleable properties of any kind, static, stagnant and
Of no use.
Ridged in the corner like the wilted wall flower so often
Left to devices alone.
This love, a dammed stream of dark slow flowing waters
Motionless at first sight.