Friday, 18 February 2011


When my mobile rang I was surprised to see
your name on the screen. Time hung
like a curved moon as, in just three rings
or four perhaps, a spool of flickered frames
flung remnants of memories round my brain.

Those small steps, tense on your frosted path
and no less braced as I climbed the slow creak
of your shadowed stairs, smelled the hush of sickness
that led me to your room where I found you,
bed-bound and cat-strewn, retching on morsels
and brooking your mother’s fuss.

Yet months later there you stood,
sassy and glorious, sparks fizzing in your eyes
as you sashayed down the corridor
in that reckless orange frock.
How I wanted to touch you, feel the cotton floss
of your queer hair and kiss you slippery shades of pink.

Jangled by your ringing tone I felt the clang
of your sentence toll within the dome of me.
‘Hello,' you said, as if you were ringing
to chat about your holiday in Provence.
But I already knew your treatment had been stopped.


  1. Oh my....sorry it's taken a while to comment, I've had to come back and reread a few times! Such a beautiful and touching poem....I really don't have the words to respond, except to say that you seem capable of touching parts of my soul that I never knew I had...and I don't know how it is you do that.. but it's wonderful. :)

  2. Louise - I'm a bit lost for words too after reading your lovely comments. I feel privileged to have touched your soul ... I think that must be the biggest accolade any writer could receive. Thank you from the bottom of my heart ...

  3. Love this Peter, ah liminality: My old compadre ;)

  4. Thanks Gwylym ... you are clearly familiar with the intriguing concept of liminality: dallying in the in-between, waiting to be transported from somewhere that will become 'was' to a space called 'is' ...

  5. Peter,

    This is has taken my breath away!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Sammy Sutton

  6. Hi Sammy - thank you for such a lovely comment. So pleased you connected with my poem.

  7. Hi Abigail - thank you for reading my poem & for your positive comment. Very much appreciated.

  8. Very interesting and very beautiful poem Peter. I had to look up what liminality meant. It makes me want to wear a wreckless orange frock. You are amazing Peter. You really do have an extraordinary ability to heal people through a very meaningful relationship. It is like when you choose a gift for a friend, and you know when the gift is good, it is hard to give it away. Isn't it hard to let it go when they have healed?

  9. Wow I was lost in your words imagination running free .. then these words "But I already knew your treatment had been stopped." and the imagination stopped as the visual changed to reality....Kudos to you .....AWESOME...As always..XOXOXO

  10. Hi Bonnie - thank you for such a lovely comment. Pleased my poem was able to draw you in the way it did.

  11. Love this Peter, sooooooooooo beautiful and interesting!
    Short Poems

  12. Beautifully haunting. In a few stanza's you bring hope and pain to the forefront on the waves of an emotional turbulent sea. Your words haunt in the way they stay with the reader, long after. (Hugs)Indigo

  13. The final envelop of sad terminal state is so intricately woven! it leaves one speechless. Power of poetics over mere words personified in this superb write.