State Of Decay

In the wake of the morning school run, I called into the local McDonald’s. Armed with a hot coffee, I went upstairs for extra warmth. It’s that time of year when being comfortable is a question of degree. Literally.

I had the room to myself, and, through a rectangle of light, I could see yellowing leaves outside clinging desperately to trees, only a storm’s breath away from relinquishing their grip forever.

The sky was blue but soon to concede to cloud.

Here, everything was in decay.

It wasn’t just those leaves on the trees; the music coming out of the speaker above me was already out of vogue; that very moment was passing into memory, present tense to past, and I was a machine that through wear and tear would at some point begin to break down. At a cellular level it was already underway, as I was sat there, an heir to debt and degeneration, just a storm’s breath away from relinquishing my grip.

Dead Bird

from my poetry blog

Coronets For Ghosts

Dead Bird

The kids are fascinated by the varying states of putrefaction.
Every morning we pause, compare it to yesterday's
studied image.
"Where have it's eyes gone? Have they sunk into its skull?"

Half-covered by an overnight shroud of autumn leaves,
provoking a conflict of opinion.
The girl thinks it should be buried out of decency,
the boy eager to glimpse its surfacing skeleton.

Every day its stomach is drawn in, the ribs rising.
Then this morning, stunned: the bird is gone,
perhaps removed by a conscientious council worker.
The boy thinks that it's been dragged off to be devoured
by a fox, or a cat, but whatever it was
it must have been really down on its luck,
falling on that desiccated morsel
for a feast.



©AndrewJamesMurray

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Death Do Us Part: A Letter From The Trenches

I read this moving letter, with a moving conclusion, on a FB post for Valentine’s Day. It is taken from the Imperial War Museum.

A letter from the trenches. 1917

Private Albert Ford wrote to his wife, Edith, on a scrap piece of paper before going ‘over the top’.

“My darling if this should ever reach you it will be a sure sign that I am gone under and what will become of you and the chicks I do not know but there is one above that will see to you and not let you starve,” he wrote.

“You have been the best of wives and I loved you deeply, how much you will never know.

“Dear heart, do think sometimes of me in the future when your grief has worn a bit, and the older children, I know won’t forget me, and speak sometimes of me to the younger ones…

“Dearest, if the chance should come your way for you are young and good looking and should a good man give you an offer it would please me to think you would take it, not to grieve too much for me…

“I should not have left you thus bringing suffering and poverty on a loving wife and children for which in time I hope you will forgive me.

“So dear heart I will bid you all farewell hoping to meet you in the time to come if there is a hereafter. Know that my last thoughts were of you in the dugout or on the fire step my thoughts went out to you, the only one I ever loved, the one that made a man of me.”

Albert was killed in action on 26 October 1917. His last letter was treasured by Edith until her death. She never remarried and as she lay dying in February 1956 she said she could see Albert in the corner of her bedroom.

However Slight

From my poetry blog

Coronets For Ghosts

However Slight

however slight

the unconvincing smile;

frozen lilt of a tongue

and an Irish grave

turn away

tomorrow’s spoilers

for today’s surprises

I wake; you sleep,

there is a bite

to the breeze

stirring broken glass,

however slight

©AndrewJamesMurray

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