Monday, 30 April 2012

Decisions, decisions...part 1

Putting a collection of poetry together for publication is no easy matter. Not only do you need to have written the poems in the first place, but you also need to decided on the theme and style you want your book to follow.

With Encounters, it was a case of searching through an extensive portfolio for poems that could be linked by a single theme; sorting them into piles 'YES', 'No' and 'Maybe'. Sounds easy enough, but you would be surprised how many times poems were moved from one pile to another and back again, re-worked, reconsidered, re-worked again before finally ending up with enough content in the 'YES' pile to justify going to print. Something that also surprised me, was just how many from the original 'YES' pile didn't make it into the book.

The following poem, The Journey, is one such piece. Although it fitted nicely into the theme of emotional encounters, I felt that the style and length was out of step with the rest of the book.  Even before posting it here, it still needed a few tweaks here and there to improve the flow. I don't know, perhaps it may make it into another collection or maybe it is best left to stand alone. What do you think, is this the one that got away?

The Journey

Now where are you going, my lovely?

said Rose as she lay in her bed.

I'm going back home to my husband
and lay down this weary old head.
I've finished my shift now you see, dear
and it's time I was well on my way.
I'm sorry but I really must leave here,
I'm tired and I just cannot stay.

But why must you leave me, my lovely?
Please sit here a while by my bed,
there's something I'm longing to tell you,
it's something that needs to be said.

So I sat down beside the old lady
then gently took hold of her hand,
I listened as she told her story,
dismissing the night I'd had planned.

Tonight I go on a journey
from which I will not return,
Oh please don't look so upset, dear
you've really no need for concern.
There really is nothing to fear, dear;
for I'm finally taking my turn.

This is the journey I've longed for,
from the pain I'll be getting a rest
I'm going to meet with my Billy, dear;
there really is no need to fret,
for I'll be dancing with Angels tonight, dear
and leaving the Devil my debt.
He's led me astray on occasions,
like the night when Billy and I met.
Eh that was a night to remember,
such passion I cannot forget.
Aye, he's led me astray on occasions,
but th'old Bugger's not branded me yet.

What I wanted to say was just 'Thank you'
for tending to all of my needs
for being a wonderful nurse, dear
so gentle in manner and deed.

For this reason I ask you a favour,
one last thing before I must go.
Do you think you could spare me the time, dear
to stay until my Billy shows.

For my family have all gone before me
and there's no one else left who can stay
no one to witness my passing
or wave as I start on my way

My Billy said that he'd come and meet me
the moment my journey was due
but 'till then I'd like somebody with me
and I'd be happier if it was you.


Oh look Mary, there can you see him?

Said Rose as she reached out her hand.
I looked to where she was pointing
how could I not understand.

My Billy's come back to collect me.
Look, he's coming to show me the way.

As I watched, Rose slowly departed,
all pain that was face etched undone,
her spirit, all youthful and lively
re-united with Billy’s as one.

Encounters by L. J. Clayton  Available via Amazon

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