Last Words

It would never have worked,
I in my authentic 40's suit,
Wide-lapelled like Bogart
In Rio or Panama or Casablanca.
You in your home-made red and white
Poppy dress, ribbons in your hair,
Three months gone.
It was 1983 and windy.
I trimmed my moustache like Gable's
And wore a silk dickie.

And your mother wept in seeing you off,
My mother in her Debenhams fake fur
Dying to get outside for a Woodbine.

And after the promises we stood
Resolute for photographs to offer
To the next generation, a remembrance
Of youth or age that had us there, three
Months gone.

But right now, after ten years
And an accumulation of children
We fumble for last words, the photographs
Like Medusa fastened in the attic
Whilst we sit and wait
In our opened living room in New Lane
With nothing particular in mind,
The fostering of affection gone, withered

Like the tired hands of Sisyphus.

John Cornwall

If you've any comments on this poem, John Cornwall would be pleased to hear from you.