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by John G.Hall 

Posted: 06 July 2004
Word Count: 61
Summary: cataracts ahead....

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she held my head
in one small hand,
loves phrenology
feeling for the soul,
a mother's fingers
reading my thinking,
brown eyes locked
into my baby blues,
until I slipped to sleep
and woke today as old
as she was then, years
falling from her onto me,
my blue eyes searching
for her looks amongst
the blindness in sight.


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Comments by other Members

roovacrag at 15:44 on 06 July 2004  Report this post
John, A poem of the past, the present and the future.
Yes our sight fails us as we grow old.
Cataracts a blindness that should not happen.

Well done.
xx Alice

olebut at 19:07 on 06 July 2004  Report this post

we seem to be going through a period of excellant poetry being posted, that either has great imagery, charged emotion and /or is very profound this piece seems to fill all three it is an excellant piece

I especially like these lines

until I slipped to sleep
and woke today as old
as she was then, years
falling from her onto me,

thank you for sharing it with us


Nell at 13:42 on 07 July 2004  Report this post
John, I keep coming back to this tender and beautiful piece - can almost feel the baby's head in my hand. The lines David has picked out are the ones I'd have chosen too - and what an extraordinary thought that is, yet how truly a description of the way time passes. I've thought a lot about that phrase '... the blindness of insight...' - I almost know what you mean, and it tantalizes. I need miffle perhaps to explain fully, but the way I read/understood was that a little insight (like a little knowledge) is perhaps a dangerous thing to have - possibly leading one to imagine that one has discovered truths that may not be true at all?

A lovely thing.


miffle at 15:17 on 07 July 2004  Report this post
John, a tender poem with a gentle lilt that rocked me to sleep - and I mean pleasantly!

Love the way you have placed the word 'phrenology' here: when paired with 'love' it takes on a gentle feel and the pairing seems effortless too, meant to be.

You make a huge temporal jump in the lines 'until I slipped...as she was then' - quite a feat! The kind of thing I'd expect to see, however, in the poetic equivalent of the Cirque Du Soleil! And you do it seamlessly - great!

I love too the way that the word 'slipped'' sounds fantastical here... It adds a fairytale feel for me: which links too to the word 'Once' - that vague time marker that all fairytales begin with...

...'slipped to sleep' reminds me of the idea of every night's sleep being a little death... I am sure that the Romantics wrote much on this theme (?) And if it's just a 'slip...' then what is there to fear? This i read to be the link in part to the older man now.

Love the image of the 'years / falling from her onto me'. Again time feels seamless and its passage gentle - the generational circle just a natural season.

'blindness of insight' I too found this a challenging phrase and like Nell I am not sure that I understand its meaning within the context of the poem... (?)

Beyond the context of the poem I interpret 'blindness of insight' as an enlightenment or an illumination so intense that it blinds... It also makes me think of Shakespearian ideas of blindness/ insight... And also of blind soothsayers in classical literature.

Within the context of the poem I feel that the phrase is linked ideas of the older man's 'insight' in comparison with the baby's 'innocence' (?)... I almost get the feeling, actually, there that you've not quite said exactly what you mean (?)... 'Looking for her looks though my insight blinds me' ? ...

Enjoyed it very much, kind regards, Nikki

'love's phrenology' (?)
'amongst' - perhaps the preposition is confusing me ?

John G.Hall at 20:19 on 07 July 2004  Report this post
Thank you everyone for the kind words & sensitive discussion. As usual the writer can still learn about his own work after it has been written.

My thoughts were:

My looking in-to another persons mind ultimately cannot see the young mother in the old mother. Time has blinded us, cut us off from that clarity that only the babe knew.

That mysterious relationship will always lie out of our knowing.

Yet even the young mother struggled, feeling and searching.Trying to understand her childs thoughts.

To see the childs future. Just as the man tries to see in-to the past.

The incommunicable love between mother & child cannot be lost and yet cannot found.

I have only addressed the last image, as everyone read the aspects of time shifting and 'slipped to sleep' as someone 'slips away' when they die or leaves somewhere secretly.


John G.Hall

Sam Rix at 20:42 on 07 July 2004  Report this post
Hi John,

I'd just like to add my praise to that of those before me.
An excellent voyage you have taken us on, for that's how it felt, like sailing gently through the tides of this man’s life. As if the slow jostling of the waves carried us imperceptibly from a life we appreciate more and more as the soft currents slip us away..

For me the line; ‘the blindness of insight ‘ gave me food for thought…
This led me to dwell on the mother, knowing that her child would one day look upon another child loving unconditionally in the same unique way, watching her child and aware of the boy child’s incomprehension of what the moment meant to her and still the bliss of that moment.

Superb Stuff

Love and luck


Marlo at 18:42 on 23 July 2004  Report this post
Hi John,

What a wonderful poem, so peaceful and reflective It made me wonder about life and the little time we actually have.

A child one day, having your own the next, and feeling what your own parents felt.

Great stuff.


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