Login   Sign Up 


Man and Wife

by Zettel 

Posted: 02 March 2008
Word Count: 108

Font Size

Printable Version
Print Double spaced

Man and Wife

His unwilling legs have felt such pain
his eyes have seen such sorrow
his worn down heart such loss
his tears have no tomorrow
for loves he can’t regain

Three dead children haunt his nights
their memories ghost his days
his survival defies all sense
courage shadows all his ways
love his history requites

Soon, not too soon, he’ll go
a journey long delayed
but they will go together
for together they have stayed
to share a love that few can know

Together they defiant wait
beyond all hurt at last
glasses raised heads unbowed
they have overcome their past
and triumphed over cruel fate

Favourite this work Favourite This Author

Comments by other Members

MarlaD at 15:31 on 02 March 2008  Report this post
Ooh..this made me tingle..beautifully sums up the sadness of old age..it deserves a better title though! x

Zettel at 00:42 on 03 March 2008  Report this post

Thanks. I think you're right about the title. I changed it at the last moment. Not sure even this is right but it's better I think.


James Graham at 11:49 on 03 March 2008  Report this post
'Man and Wife', I would have thought. That's clear from the last two stanzas. But I'll come back to this one.


James Graham at 19:48 on 03 March 2008  Report this post
Yes, I would say keep the original title, as it’s not only about the man.

‘Three dead children’ - I wonder what you had in mind. Time was when a couple might lose three children in infancy, but fortunately not in our time, at least not in our society now. ‘Three dead children’ is still perfectly valid, of course, as a source of the old man’s grief and weariness with living. We can imagine such a tragedy happening in war, or as a result of terrorism, or due to natural disaster, or indeed poverty in too many parts of the world.

The rhyming structure that you’ve used works very well. This kind of ‘mirror’ rhyme pattern seems to have an elegiac or generally sombre effect. It’s hard to say why, but it does. I’m reminded of Tennyson’s In Memoriam:

So runs my dream: but what am I?
An infant crying in the night:
An infant crying for the light:
And with no language but a cry.

ABBA. Yours is ABCBA, but the effect is similar. Was it a conscious choice?


MarlaD at 20:04 on 03 March 2008  Report this post
Lol..I'd go with the expert..or some variation of it, as, correctly pointed out, it's about them both x

Zettel at 21:04 on 03 March 2008  Report this post
Thanks James

The rhythm 'found itself' as often happens with me. This is a form I haven't used before and and I quite liked the way the rhyming structure sort of 'sealed' each stanza. Just 'feel' nothing conscious. I almost feel the right title for this hasn't emerged yet. Like the word on the tip of your tongue. Can't chase it.

The source is a marvelous couple I met down the pub. And yes they did lose three children. It was their resilience to this that first struck me. I'd seen them several times before the man ever tried to get up and then I found tears welling up when I saw how desperately difficult it was for him to even get up. They enjoy to get a bottle of wine and smoke outside in the freezing cold to which despite their age they seem impervious. The thought of losing one child devastates me and as their story emerged I was struck by how often one suddenly glimpses other people's tragedies - even in a pub.

thanks for the comments.


Ticonderoga at 12:59 on 04 March 2008  Report this post
I can understand why you were moved to write about these two. I think the stark simplicity of the title is all too appropriate.

Write on,


James Graham at 15:23 on 06 March 2008  Report this post
The title is perfect. It's a common expression but the whole poem, and this old couple's presence in it, is a fresh 'definition' of the phrase.

Your comment suggests another poem - a more concrete, descriptive one, describing them at the pub, outside smoking, the man's struggle to walk, etc. Perhaps with lines of conversation. A companion poem to this one?



A fresh 'take' on the expression, I think I meant.

J1mbo at 15:40 on 15 March 2008  Report this post
I liked this poem. I also thought it created a nice mystery that you didn't state how the children died. Once the reader understands that you are talking about an old couple, the possibilities are endless. Did they all die at once or separately over a long period of time.

I was wondering if you should use the adverb defiantly rather than the adjective.

'Together they defiantly wait'

Nice piece of work.

To post comments you need to become a member. If you are already a member, please log in .