It has been a very good day today: a poem for #InternationalWomensDay appearing on Liz Brownlee’s lovely Poetry Roundabout site, an excellent day at school with the wonderful Class 4 making Mothers’ Day cards and lots of love being shown towards
On Good Days on Atrium Poetry (a poem which, if I’m honest, I didn’t have much hope for when given feedback about it from a high profile editor last year).
‘On Good Days’ developed in an interesting and unexpected way from an idea while standing in the bathroom, staring at my fizzhog in the mirror, deciding whether or not to shave off my beard. When I look at my eyes, my father stares back (something which I’ve written about before, and something I’m fairly sure other people experience if they grow to resemble a parent as the years trundle on … ). It’s a strangely comforting thing, yet it also makes one wonder what happened to the youth who used to appear years ago when the eyes were less baggy, the jawline was tighter and the hair was thick ginger … ah well,
c’est la vie!
On Good Days
On good days, the voices were quiet.
He’d fumble the razor, indulge in muttered
early morning profanities, yet still wear
his hope like an old boxer’s dressing gown.
Water cascading over knotted hands,
temperature rising as the boiler kicked in,
he’d tickle the soap trout like a novice,
splashing water over threadbare slippers.
Thin ribbons of steam wafting upwards,
enfolding the air, would draw him towards
the mirror like an opponent’s face drifting
into focus, as abused senses slowly sharpened.
And noticing rain, he’d open the window,
listen, breathe, let the irritations abate,
feel the control return, while in the glass,
his reflection slowly misted over.
He might wipe the condensation away, look
for memories, distort the image, try to summon
different eyes, willing someone else
to the mirror than the one expected.
But on bad days, on days where the reflection
remained obscured, through early morning mist,
the eyes would have no hope;
he would wait for the voices to return.
Published in Atrium Poetry (March 2018)