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Journey, 1999

by Cat 

Posted: 20 April 2004
Word Count: 208

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Journey, 1999

seven of us in the back of a van,
on a wig-wearing, smoke-toking
summertime high
we drive all day for
all night dancing, fast fingers
on tablas, darabouka drums,
toes in wet grass and
the vast, vast sky
and by the fire you and I
skirt around our selves, skim
the surface of conversations
as we drink, then sink
into each other -
we’d waited years to kiss.

Then this –

Dinah joins me, says
‘someone’s tried to phone’
and down the line
my brother’s voice
a stranger’s, shaken
edgy, urging me come home.

For seven hours the train
takes me back across the country
the carriage fills, then empties,
fills, then empties
and trees blur to a
bleeding ink as I stare out
the summer and win.
All I can think -
'how numb I am, not knowing.'

Night-time hospital ward,
a world blue-lit and factual, still
my father’s breath fills the stubborn silence
close up he is distance magnified
and I am frightened, so
my mind makes him a fiction,
twists his face to a horror movie moment.
Sleepless, I leave
until morning comes when
he is Dad again, just old and ill and frail
and I am his youth, ripe with summer’s tales.

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Comments by other Members

roger at 14:48 on 21 April 2004  Report this post
Another nice one, Cat. No, not nice, better than nice, much better.It rattles along like the train you were on and hints at a whole family's history and yourown here and now. So much said in so few words. I guess that's what makes a great poem and, in my eyes, this is a great poem.

joanie at 16:19 on 21 April 2004  Report this post
Cat, I was with you all the way through - I felt your feelings; I saw the countryside flashing past, too slowly; I knew what you meant by your mind twisting his face. I love the last two lines. It just says it all. I loved it.

roovacrag at 17:53 on 21 April 2004  Report this post
Hey I liked this.very visual and true to life.

You use your words well. Explain it well and gives the reader a true picture of what you are saying.

Well done
xx Alice

Cat at 20:48 on 26 April 2004  Report this post
wow, I don't know about being a great poem, Roger but many thanks and glad you like it. It's good to know it works for people as I wondered if the leap from start to finish was too great. It's had plenty of re-drafts so I think I'll rest there.

Thanks to Alice for your comments too and Joanie I spent ages changing that last line, then changing it back again as I didn't want it to sound too twee - so appreciate the comment.


paul53 [for I am he] at 17:28 on 02 March 2005  Report this post
Found this is the Random Read, so excuse the lateness. An excellent piece. Well done.

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