Day 29 and madness has set in. I have just spent three hours writing a sestina, a form which I abhor above all other forms. Surely tomorrow, I must use the remaining words, including lunacy, from Wordle #15. Carolee’s prompt at Read Write Poem was to spend five minutes writing a list starting with the words ‘I don’t think I can…’ My list included ‘I don’t think I can move house’. This is the resulting poem:
How not to move house
It snowed the day we moved here, in nineteen eighty-four,
At the start of the year of Orwell’s dystopian vision.
From garage loft and shed the junk of twenty five years,
Extends ropes, chains and padlocks to tether me to the past.
When all I want is to move where I can have a future,
I’m snared by the cast offs from my family’s other lives.
My eldest is a musician, he has a new life
Teaching in a school in Geneva, where he has no use for
Old music, a trumpet and a music stand. His future
Now lies with wife and son, there is no place in his vision
For the flotsam and jetsam of his past
But he left rubbish from his car when he visited this year.
My daughter is also a teacher. For the past year
She’s taught at Kanda University. Her new life
In Japan leaves behind less clutter from her past,
Stuff that she’s been hoarding since nineteen eighty-four –
Just books and clothes and a digital television
which she may need if she returns some time in the future.
My youngest is an artist. He now has a future
up north in Salford where his son turned one this year.
Now artists of all people are apt to have a vision
That floats unmoored to their day to day lives
Leaving a trail of items they just might find a use for.
He of the three has left behind most debris from the past
Ten years ago my mother moved south, brought another past
In addition to my children’s and mine. I put my future
On hold, just as I’ve been doing since nineteen eighty-four.
My mother’s bewilderment led to a hard choice last year:
She will now have other carers for the rest of her life.
Amongst the litter left behind – another television.
I’m still struggling to hold on to a vision
In which I’m no longer coupled to detritus of the past
And I’m the one moving forward to lead a new life
Without other pasts haunting my future
Maybe this year will be the year
I’ve been waiting for since nineteen eighty-four.
Since nineteen eighty-four, I’ve had a vision
Every year of breaking with the past
To build a future for my life
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