Empathy

I have been thinking
About empathy
And how things would be
If we could see
Humanity in each other.
The human staring back
At me,
Stripped of all pretensions.
How in some way
Everyone is doing their best
Coping with the unexpected,
The traumatic, the endless
Throws of life
And if we met there
You would not need a thick skin
To deal with my lack of
Emotional grace
And I would not see your pain
As weakness,
We would know
That each has his pain,
His cross,
And that those who are strong
Know we are united
In our brokenness

Copyright Hiraeth 2017

My zoo

I have consciously created a zoo for myself. Between three fish (one a Beta fish who ate her male – I find it difficult to like her; granted I understand the emotion, but chewing him fin by fin?), three dogs and two kids, I feel completely content. Despite all the responsibility draped around my neck and the thought that we might never see another holiday (who will stand in as zoo keeper?), I am peaceful, content. When life feels overwhelming and I succumb to anxiety, I see my goldfish swimming in peaceful harmony. When I forget to be present, my pack of dogs (I recently acquired a third one) bark for their daily play and bring me back to now. And late at night when my head hurts with all I still need to do, two sets of little arms reach around my neck and tell me I am loved. So if you are wondering why I am not writing…
I am really happy in my zoo.

Copyright Hiraeth 2016

Less

2016
was a really shit year.
There, I said it
Despite all my goals,
Excitement,
Childlike anticipation;
It very quickly became a
Mad rush,
An epic rat race.
And life happened
Inbetween;
Life reminding that
None of this is
Forever;
That the rollercoaster
Has an end.
And the very thought
Made me run even faster
Chasing,
Chasing the wind.
I have spent a lot of time
Thinking about 2017
And my motto is
Less,
Less of everything
Less activity,
Less investment into people
Who don’t appreciate it.
Just less.
And I know that
In the less,
There will be more.

Copyright Hiraeth 2016

This year

This year
The day you passed
Came and went
And although I acknowledged
It, I also let the hours lapse
Without much thought,
I let the day drown in its
Busyness
I knew if I indulged the loss
It would call out to me,
It would overwhelm my already
Tired disconnected heart
It would call me to slow down
To feel, to cry, to remember
So I held it in
Supressed it
And then this past weekend
I sat on the beach
And watched the waves,
Felt the wind caress my tears
And my only thought was
How unfair it is
That
You
Are
Gone.

copyright Hiraeth 2016

October’s Spell

It started in October.
Everything you did, said, implied,
Engraved on your face,
Got under my skin, my nails;
Your laid-back attitude,
That kept me calm, centered
Now aroused anger,
It went from complacency to
Laziness in my head
As the days passed.
By the middle of the month
I imagined myself booting you off
That damn Coricraft corner unit
With the two sets of removable covers
On which your outline had an imprint
And very soon,
On that same couch, with the olive
Set on, sitting side by side,
I said, “I am done.”
And your face revealed
You were done too.
And now when I read the news,
See how many celebrity couples
Are done
In October;
I think to myself
If only they held on for two
More months,
In January,
Things will be different,
(and that forsaken couch
will be clean)
Things always look more hopeful;
Just
get
through
October.

Copyright Hiraeth 2016

No translation

We speak different love languages
Mine is words,
His is affection
And despite his best attempts
And my enthusiastic moaning
And even a few counselling sessions;
Seven years in, we are no closer
To speaking the same tongue
And I have realised, it is fine
We are fine.
I will always be the one who writes
Lyrically about our love,
Capture the challenges in prose
Write essays in anniversary cards.
He will always be the one who
Shows love, who holds me every night
In a gorilla grip,
Who is practical, even when it comes to
Matters of the heart,
His cards an eloquent
I love you and the gift something
Purposeful.
And I will admit,
That I have learnt his language
Become accustomed to it,
And in the dead of night
In his arms
I believe
Everything will be alright.

copyright Hiraeth 2016

I remember you

To the woman
Who lost a son
One of two
I remember the day
I remember you
I remember the ambulance men
Taking him away
From the NICU,
Carefully clearing his incubator,
The nurses cleaning it for the
Next arrival.
He was the strongest of the two,
But suddenly it changed,
As we were warned it could
And often did
(In a very clinical approach,
as if this were a laboratory experiment)
I returned to my room
And sat on the floor
And wept and prayed
That my son would
Make it.
I prayed for you, that your
Heart would be held
By Him.
I phoned my Dad and
Wept like a four year old,
I can’t lose him,
I love him so much already
He is so small
His entire body wrapped
In tubes, wires.
I remember your first visit
The next day
You were there for you remaining
Son, brave but broken,
Cloaked in loss.
I remember.
And even now, when I watch
My blue eyes run and pounce
On every moment of life,
I think of you
And how blessed I am to have him,
how he had to fight to be here.
And sometimes I wonder
If women who have problem-free
Pregnancies, realise how much
Could go wrong,
If teachers and therapists who
Work with these little ones
Realise how lucky we are to have them,
How much they have been through,
If partners realise that the mothers
Are forever scarred by the experience,
That there is always this doubt,
That you did something wrong,
That you were unable to carry them
To full term.
So on this Women’s day
I remember you,
I remember
your sons.

Copyright Hiraeth 2016

Stolen words

My diary.
Of all the things you took
My money, my trust, my confidence
This is what stung most:
That you felt you had a right,
That you were entitled
To parts never exposed to anyone
(the darkness unforeseen, unexpected, unresolved)
And that was not enough;
Then you stole my poetry
And used it to serenade the next
Soul mate, the next chapter,
The next forever-after-lie;
And the words dried up,
I had no words
No rhyme.
And then one day I watched
The sun set itself to sleep
And the waves caressing the sand
In a waltz with the wind.
And I knew:
That there were more words,
That there was more poetry,
more rhyme,
That would never
be
yours.

Copyright Hiraeth 2016

If you knew

If you knew how hard it is
Trying to keep a marriage intact
In this day and age
And raise a family,
Despite the overwhelming
Pace of life,
Despite the exhaustive have-to-do,
Have-to-be demands,
You would grant him a chance
To find what you searched for
But still have not found,
You would offer your support,
Ask what role you can play
To add to our family,
Instead of the one you defined
For yourself
Long before there was us.
You would put your selfish ways
Aside and have the wisdom to see:
We are trying our best,
Just
let
us
be.

Copyright Hiraeth 2016

Water is home

The water was his home,
Long before our paths intersected;
A safe place where his soul
Would come alive in
The rhythm, spray, crashing of the waves.
The chaos at home was forgotten,
Buried as soon as his feet touched
The sand and solitude became a
Comfort to that which was,
And could not be.
He would stay there for hours,
Long after the last surfer left
And sunrise beckoned the night
To arrive.
I still see it when I watch him:
He comes alive in the water,
His movements fluid, as if the
Water breaks to meet him,
An old and faithful friend.
His wait for the right wave
A meditation, reflection of beauty.
And I know home for him is our family,
But a part will always be
In the sea.

Copyright Hiraeth 2016