I am lonely in the middle of offspring
and think how lonely others are.
And days go on with no reason.
I live because I breathe.
Almost evening now.
The grandchild plays.
She makes the most of her hours
while I sit and watch
So alone. But I breathe on.
I do that much.
There is the face of my father in hers.
All the stuff he once saw
was raging through his veins
and he said he couldn’t speak,
and his eyes tried to stay dry in water
as the forgotten war had broken his mind,
forever remembered through his pain.
He saw the slippery killers approaching
in the land where he had to fight
where no one knew him. Where they hated him.
East Indies. He saw his friends die or get dark,
a darkness they would share in the light
of coming post war years.
When he came back, no one cared much for his pain.
The good people were gone, the others survived.
Everyone was trying to make the best
of what remained of humanity.
He sailed the world. He could not get away though.
He got a wife and child and did what he should do.
He never shed his tears but he
did show his anger. Life failed him and so did I.
He was a father with a history, but so had she,
all parents had such histories and trauma.
And the darkness approached us
in bright Summer mornings.
Days were ruled by his wife, her past perhaps,
as cruelty came out to play her mind.
What would be next. Her moods would change.
I was never sure. Nor was he when he was home.
And with all that stuff that never left
his aching body, his thoughts,
he went numb. He could not live this way.
After he died,
the graveyard was silent as he was,
as if peace was there to be found,
but death is silent too.
A whisper came through the trees,
and now we hoped this was better. An ease.
Shadows follow us. My darkness is a silent one.
I can not speak of it. Why should I.
We all have our own moments of horror.
I try to be as brave as possible. As a soldier
in a foreign land that hates me. Take care
of your mother he said as he left. I was four and failed.
She watches me think and stops her play.
I never shed tears still she knows
that the darkness has come over me
now the evening shadows found me.
She looks at me. Not two years old,
she knows and smiles. And I smile too.
One day I shall take her to the place
where the trees whisper and my parents lie,
to tell her about love. And that it doesn’t matter
that shadows come; they always go as well.
For now she is about to sleep
and I have found a candle to give light.