Half the World

You say you’re weak

Well that’s okay

Half the world is made that way.

You say you’re hurt

I know that’s true

Half the world is hurting too.

You say you cry

Your tears they flow

Half the world weeps, just so you know

You say you’re dead

That you feel sad

Half the world feels just as bad.

You say you wait

For better days

Half the world is in that daze

All your worries

We have too

Half the world feels just like you.

You feel trapped

So do we

Half the world wants to be free.

Shake yourself

Live your life

Half the world lives in such strife.

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The Veteran

The Veteran

I only met them a few times. For me, the final encounter was the best.

The wheelchair I was temporarily confined to ought to have protected me from any cruel remarks. It proved, however, to be no barrier to them and no armour for me. I felt every word they threw at me.

At first, I had been angry to be restrained in such a way but I knew that life brought its own trials and, gradually, I had begun to accept the necessity of my conveyance.

‘It is only for a little while,’ my daughter, Anne, had reminded me time and again.

My ill-temper had abated and now I allowed Anne to push me around the town. There was little point in attempting to do so myself: I was useless at steering and there were too many hills to negotiate safely in the out-dated contraption they had given me at the hospital.

I was embarrassed at being so immobilised but I did not expect these feelings to be aggravated by ridicule. Not, that is, until we met the little swine. For swine they were: truffling about in the twilight; scenting out delights of trouble; heedless of anyone or anything else but their own malicious pursuits. I had seen them before, in passing. Now, travelling at this forcedly slow pace, there could be no passing. Only confrontation.

‘I like your pram, auld man!’ one wit called.

‘Give us a hurl,’ said another, looking sideways for approval from the first.

My daughter said nothing and continued to push the chair as if she had heard nothing. I wanted to say two words but I had always avoided swearing in the presence of my children. Not that it would have shocked her. No-one could avoid hearing it these days. Where once foul language had been the preserve of navvies, now you could hear it on any bus or street: from male or female, regardless of age; without any thought for who could overhear.

What I would not have given to have told them where to go. But I was disciplined. And abstinence from cursing within my family circle for so long left me speechless now. Instead, I ignored them and muttered to myself, keeping the annoyance within.

The second meeting happened some time later. Again, my daughter was with me.

Having dwelt on the previous encounter for so long afterwards, I knew I would not let another opportunity go by.

The heckling began as soon as they saw our approach.

‘Hey, it’s the auld guy. Give us a wee shot, eh.’

Without waiting for more, I said,

‘You had better know that I’m a veteran a….’

My sentence went unfinished as one yob jumped in front of me. Grabbing hold of both arms of the wheelchair, he sneered directly into my face, his breath reeking of cheap wine and cigarettes.

‘I don’t care if you’re a veteran of the Gulf War or a veteran surgeon……You’re in a pram now. Some set of wheels. Is this your tank?’ Stupidly cackling at his own remark.

He could not have been more than fourteen or fifteen years old and I knew that to lay a hand on him would involve my daughter and myself in trouble. Street-wise life knew their rights. Responsibilities were never mentioned. The plastered leg beneath my blanket would have made an ideal weapon but, again, caution prevailed. I abstained from any rash action.

My daughter’s voice held fear in its simple statement, but only I would recognise that.

‘Excuse us,’ she said. ‘You’re in our way and that policeman coming along the street has his eye on you.’

The youth turned and, fortunately, a blue-uniformed figure was indeed making his way towards us.

One of the three said, ‘It’s the polis. Move!’

As one, they scurried off. The leader’s parting shot was a glob of spit which landed right in front of my chair.

The officer approached us and asked, with genuine concern, if the youths had troubled us.

‘Youths!’ I said. ‘Little swine, more like. I’ll fix them soon enough.’

‘Now, Sir,’ said the young policeman, ‘I couldn’t possibly condone your taking matters into your own hands. If, however, you would like to make a formal complaint about their behaviour to you, I could certainly assist in some way. Our hands are so often tied in these matters.’

I spoke briefly with the officer and reassured him that I did not intend the young ones actual bodily harm. Reminding us to take care, he gave me or my wheelchair a sympathetic glance and patrolled on, bending his head to radio some message or other in.

Anne pushed me slowly home, worrying all the while about the state of today’s youth: what could be the root causes; what could be done to change the course of the frightening decline.

I wondered too. I wondered about my own determination to protect my children from danger and evil and foulness. I wondered about the parents who did not know what their offspring were doing and showed little care to find out. I wondered about how safe any person was, in a world where even someone in a wheelchair was fair game. I thanked God for many aspects of my life on that slow journey home. I especially thanked him for my broken leg and the insight it had given me. And how I thanked Him for the news the doctor had given me earlier that week. Soon the plaster would be off.

I would give those young ones a chance. A few months to see if life and the opportunities it presents had had any impact on them. A few months to regain my strength.

When I explained the situation to the doctor at my check up, he very kindly agreed to lend me the wheelchair for the day. Anne was less than happy to be an accomplice to what she feared would end in harm but I reassured her.

We took the same route as before and, sure enough, they were there. At the corner of the street they stood, just past the public park that almost everyone was afraid to venture into at night. The three of them were there. I had my eye on one. Break the leader, I said to myself. Go for the leader.

I told my daughter to slow down a little and, long before we reached them, Loudmouth started.

‘Hey, boys. It’s the auld man, the vet. Come on we’ll see if he’ll give us a wee shot today. There’s no polis about.’ A quick check around confirmed his statement.

Nothing had changed, obviously.

Anne coughed nervously, knowing that this time matters would be different. I heard her mumble a prayer. She need not have worried. I meant no harm. Just a little lesson in humility.

Now they were in front of us, blocking our path, ready to begin again.

I forestalled them.

‘You boys owe my daughter and myself an apology.’

Loud laughing prevented me from saying anything further.

‘An apology, is it?’ the leader said. ‘Get that, boys. The auld guy wants us to say sorry to him and his bitch. Fat chance.’

Again, there was loud laughing as one looked to the other and back to me for my reaction.

I could feel my ire rise at the crude way he spoke of my daughter. I breathed deeply and exercised the discipline that would win the day.

I pulled my blanket up, enough to reveal my footwear.

It had the desired effect.

‘Ho, Tam, check the trainers.’

Tam, the leader, looked longingly at my footwear.

‘Now, wait a minute, Granda, I could do with a pair of those. What size are you?’

At this question and without another word I pulled the blanket aside and stood up.

‘I’ll give you a five second start. Go!’ I shouted.

Confusion lasted long enough for them to take in the rest of my attire. Then they ran.

They headed down the street and straight for the park.  This was their haunt. They knew it well. But I did too. I chased. At first, they pulled away from me – youth and speed – a natural combination.

I followed. I felt bionic. Into the park, between the trees, over flowerbeds, onto forbidden grass, into the centre of a small copse of trees. Yes, they were young. Yes, they were fast. At first. But I had stamina and years of running behind me; road races, track events, cross country, marathons. I had these. Grey hair mattered not. In and out and through the trees, I kept my eyes on one. Catch the leader, I told myself. Tam ran but began to wane. I ran and caught.

His frightened eyes took in my gleaming ones. Full knowledge dawned as he read the inscription on my running vest. ‘Veteran Athletics’.

‘Move,’ I said. ‘My daughter’s waiting. There’s no excuse for pig-ignorance. Make the apology a good one.’

He did.

And from some vantage point, his peers witnessed it. Tam had fallen. When I am old, as well as grey, I know I will especially savour and remember the feel of my hand on the scruff of his neck as I ran him back to the point of conflict: he, puffing and panting for breath, trying to keep up, while I kept time for him, with ‘hup, two, three, fours’.

Even now I like to think that I did for him and his cronies what someone once did for me. Set me on the right track.

‘Ugly’ People

‘Ugly’ people can definitely grow on you. I know this for a fact. Conversely, I have known some really good-looking people whose entire appearance and appeal faded on better acquaintance.

Take Peter. He was not what anyone would call handsome or even particularly attractive. His hair was wiry and stuck out at odd angles. It looked as if it had not seen a brush or a comb for weeks on end.

He was also at that teenage stage where most days brought an avalanche of excess sebum to the hair follicles as well as to the skin. So he had this lank, wiry hair that was unkempt and mostly unclean and definitely not styled. His face at the point I knew him was not suffering too much from the oil that attacked his hair, so generally he wasn’t too spotty.

What was most prominent about him at first were his teeth. They were not buck exactly but they were there when he smiled and talked and laughed. You couldn’t not notice them. They weren’t very white either – more a kind of off-white, but not dirty.

He was a bit odd-looking would be about the kindest way of describing him. But because I didn’t find him attractive I could completely relax with him and that was where his appearance began to change. Peter was what people would call a character. His behaviour was off the wall and he expressed his feelings and emotions freely in whatever way came to mind. I never knew him to do anything wicked or mean, just eccentric. He was what you might call a free spirit and it showed in his dealings with everyone from fellow students to teachers. Everybody recognised Peter for what he was and he was liked for it. I think everyone envied his self-expression. Teachers smiled at his antics and students wanted to be able to adopt his carefree pose to their work and relationships. So, yes, this odd-looking boy of seventeen became for me a really attractive person.

I didn’t know how not to take things seriously and found it difficult to relax in the way he did with everyone. He seemed to be so comfortable with himself and with others while other teenagers, including myself, were angst-ridden about their image and relationships and the world and the bomb. A lot of us took ourselves seriously in that obnoxious way that only teenagers can – where they feel that adults really do not have a clue and do not care about the really important things. Adults become so caught up in a world that revolves around trivia like paying bills and feeding families and arranging holidays and planning for a new car and stuff that did not look at the GLOBAL issues.

Superior teenagers have got to be some of the most insufferable people on the planet. Peter wasn’t like that. Maybe that’s why the adults liked him as much as his peers. He could have a truly sensible conversation about all sorts of issues and speak from the heart with the ease of one not embarrassed to have real feelings and emotions. It may have been his family background that contributed to so much of who he was or it may have been just who he was born to be but I’m glad I knew him.

I’m older now and I find myself remembering him fondly for the kind of person he was and wondering how he had grown at such a young age into someone so unique and likeable when all around him were the usual teenagers that he really ought to have been trying to emulate because that’s what teenagers do. They follow a code – unwritten but perceived and forceful – that few dare break away from.

With teenagers of my own now I want to understand what made Peter the way he was because I would like it if my own offspring could be half the confident person he was at that tender age.

Sunday Up The Braes

Sunday comes.

We fetch our summer buckets; gaily coloured, red, blue, yellow and green. In a while, the plastic pails will hold Autumn’s fruits. Dad holds hands with one or other of us, alternating as each child takes a turn to race ahead. We skip along, stopping to check the hedgerows, trying to spot the nests that are hidden there. And, when we do, a proud cry goes up.

‘I’ve found one!’

We count the eggs but do not touch. We have been warned. None of us wants to be responsible for the mother bird’s non-return. Dad’s previous instructions are always bidden; his wisdom heeded, if not always completely understood.

We examine the markings on the eggs and note their colour. Dad identifies them. Sometimes we are proud to remember their names from earlier lessons. We scan the skies for the parents and wait quietly some way off to see if any bird spotted will return to the nest while we watch.

‘They never go too far away,’ says Dad. ‘They protect their young.’

The air is fresh and there is a crispness that makes it pleasant to take deep breaths.

‘Breathe deeply,’ says Dad, ‘in through your nose and out through your mouth. It’s good for you.’

We all inhale deeply and the smell of manure sails down tubes to eager lungs. Two or three deep breaths render us dizzy. One of us starts to turn in circles, arms outstretched, going madly round; adding in a fun way to the light-headedness of the moment.

In a twirl of excitement, we reach the woods and our first activity is to retrieve our home-made swing; hidden in the undergrowth on a previous week. We always expect someone else to have found it. We are always pleased to discover that they have not.

Dad ties the long rope to one of our favourite trees. Legs astride the swing’s strong branch, we take turns. We throw our heads back laughing, shouting for a turn, laughing in turn. We swing back and forth and round and round; sometimes pushing, sometimes being pushed. We swing until the fun in doing so is exhausted. The moment of completeness coincides with Dad calling on us. It is time to light the fire.

Collecting twigs is a competition. Are they dry? Will they burn? I’ve brought most. Look at me. I’ve done well. Dad’s praises are limited, directed and precise.

He smokes his pipe and leans against a suitable-sized rock; his legs outstretched to the fire we are preparing. We place the kindling in the middle of the stones already selected and positioned in a neat circle. Dad has previously shown us how to light a fire. Little bits of dried grass catch the flame, while gentle blowing helps it along. Soon the twigs burn and the smell …….I remember it still.

 

Every time I smell wood burn, I think of Dad and those days up the braes. Childish feet walking to a known destination where freedom, fun and adventure unfolded under Dad’s sparse but timely advices.

How I wanted one of the penknives my brothers used, to whittle little twigs to pointed ends that then pierced the potatoes Dad always magicked from hidden pockets.

We roasted those potatoes on our little fire. The boys, who were older, were permitted to turn them with their pointed sticks while my sister and I enviously watched this grown-up activity and wondered when our moment would come.

The potatoes burned nicely on the outside while eventually softened enough inside to eat with tentative fingers. We slugged milk, bought for pennies from the nearby farm. Creamy milk and hot potatoes hit stomachs only aware of hunger pangs when the activity stopped. No thought was given to whether the milk had been pasteurised or not or whose germs we shared in the communal drinking.

Sometimes Dad brought his billy-can and we shared sips of his tea, made from boiling water pilfered from a cattle trough. I was afraid of the cows, sure that they resented my unsuccessful forays at their watering hole. On more than one occasion I had to be rescued by one brother or other. While I stood transfixed by a mucous-laden cow, one of them would fetch the water, patronisingly reassuring me that the cow would not hurt me.

Even after eating, the day was still not over. My brothers carved their names in a broken-down tree, alongside an earlier week’s initials. The tree was our friend and plaything. Lying on its side, from whatever disaster had befallen it; its roots were exposed in a spreading mass. Sufficient exertion on our parts raised its purpose to a magnificent see-saw. Living trees were forbidden us. Nothing else was. There was only one rule. Do not hurt anything. That one rule enfolded us and all of nature in a protective embrace. And so we played freely.

We jumped burns, found special stones and leaves and spread all our treasures out for Dad’s perusal and identification. We only partly took in his words; understanding to follow at another time.

We scattered soil onto the dwindled fire to completely extinguish its living flame. We hid the swing again. Penknives were already closed and we trod the homeward journey.

Now birds were warming eggs in nests already spotted and not. Our bramble buckets were half-empty, the contents already mostly consumed earlier in the day. Dessert before dinner. Etiquette unbound. No silly rules to be observed. Just one rule; respecting the natural order of life. And that one was strict.

Dad’s walks up the braes were an adventure, giving Mum a break with younger siblings only to be attended to. The dinner she had prepared was always eaten with less relish than her efforts deserved. Stomachs full of brambles, potatoes and milk could not enthuse. Eventually Mum learned to abandon the Sunday dinner rule on such days. A plate of home-made soup was more than sufficient.

Faces rosy. Hands dirty. Smiles wide. Sunday bath-time followed.

 

                                                                                                                        

The Prodigal Son/Daughter – Revisited

The Prodigal Son/Daughter  (11-10-07)

There was once a woman who was left to raise her children on her own. She worked hard to try to make sure that the absence of a father in their lives would not mean that they went without. She gave them guidance and love and watched over them as if with the careful eyes of two parents.

Her youngest child got into a bad crowd and started to drink although he was too young to do so. He came home frequently too drunk to speak, except words of hurt and violence. He missed school and government bodies started to look closely at the parenting skills of the mother. They recognized that she was doing her best as her elder child was not giving her the same worries. They offered support and intervention but nothing seemed to penetrate the sense of the younger child.

Things went from bad to worse. Exam results were no good, attendance at school was at an all-time low and the police had even come calling; threatening her child with an anti-social behaviour order.

The mother cried and pleaded and prayed. One night, while the son was out drinking with some friends, they got into a fight with another crowd and some people were badly hurt. The younger child was stabbed in the leg and found by the police and taken to hospital.

The mother was called and rushed to the hospital where she kept a vigil by her son’s side until he awoke.

When he did he looked at his mother’s face and into her eyes and wept for the hurt he had caused her and the life he was leading.

On his release from hospital he went home and began to change his ways. His mother rewarded him with a laptop which she paid for so that he could study more easily and have another interest.

The elder son was angry at this and said,

‘You’re always saying how hard it is to manage on what you’ve got coming in. I give you what I can but he’s never given you a penny. Now you’ve taken out credit to buy something for him he doesn’t deserve. How is that fair?’

His mother held his two hands between hers and said,

‘You’ve never given me a moment of unnecessary worry. Your character is strong and with purpose. Your brother lost the plot for a long time and I thought he would end up in prison or dead. He’s with us again as he used to be – stronger now for what he has experienced. You both have all my love always. But when one needs me more than another, at a given time, it is that one whose needs I best try to fulfill. It takes nothing away from you and gives him the chance of a new life. And us too. For what would our lives have been with the loss of a son and a brother?’

The elder son cried and held his mother to him , understanding better the meaning of love.

The Pieta

The Pieta (4-1-08)

Awkward and too heavy,

Sprawled across a knee too small,

Lying precariously

And ungainly.

Ready to fall again,

Even after death.

The Pieta.

What have I done? a mother asks.

What have they done to you?

Why do they hate you so?

To torture your body

And my heart and mind?

And yet the knowledge was ever there.

A sword will pierce your heart.

Did she know exactly how?

Does she look resigned to the facts

She could only have been half aware of?

One hand lies loose,

Not holding on to the prone figure.

Not cuddling, as a mother would, an infant.

Resigned she may be;

For the face knows more than the two figures show.

The broken man is broken only in body.

His spirit lives

And sets us free.

She knows this but still her heart is heavy

For the child and the man –

The physical being she has lost –

Only to return ,

Physically and spiritually,

In glory and splendour.

Her honour –

An assumption into heaven-

Without death.

Having carried the one

Who carried

The burdens of the world

She sits in glory.

With the Father

And the Son

And the Holy Spirit.

Reason

(Sun. 22/2/09)

A long, long time ago in a land far away a princess awoke from a deep sleep.

Daylight had begun to filter through the windows casting a tentative finger into the darkened room. Lucy lay still, waiting. Furnishings in the turret room were still in shadow. She could identify every piece without much thought. There, over in one corner, was her mahogany dressing-table with the ornate gilt mirror hanging on the wall above. To the left her wardrobe stood guard, massive in its presence, the four doors stretching over most of that wall reaching almost to the door. To the right of the window a large desk covered in neglected papers occupied all of that side of the wall. From her position she had a clear, unobstructed view of the window although she could see nothing through it for the filmy curtains allowed in light but no image of the outside world.

She waited. Would the sun grow stronger and brighten her waking hours as she hoped? Or were there clouds without that she could not see? She waited. Immobile to any action other than this.

She did not think of anything while she lay staring at the window. All thoughts were kept at bay, locked in a separate tower in her mind. Time would determine further thought and action. The clock sitting on her side-table ticked by the minutes while she lay inert.

Faint noises from the outside began to permeate her senses. The sound of an occasional vehicle passing in the nearby street. A voice not too far-off raised in command to a dog which responded with an obedient bark.

Outside, the world was beginning to come alive.

For Lucy the world could wait a little longer. Perhaps forever.

Still she did not stir. Waiting had become a perfected occupation. If only she knew exactly for what she was waiting.

No night in shining armour would rescue her from this place. She shunned the thought. The light darkened imperceptibly. No one in the room below was demanding her attention. She had nowhere that she had to be other than the space she occupied.

The room had grown darker still. Clouds had begun to encroach on that little measure of light and Lucy tensed her body expectantly waiting for the onset of further gloom.

She was not disappointed. As each tiny, obtrusive thought began to find a foothold in her consciousness the room seemed to grow darker and darker. The ever-present bubble of fear in the belly of her being began to expand. It began to effervesce, shooting thousands of smaller bubbles along her limbs and through her torso. She gulped nervously, knowing that if she did not get a hold on her thoughts and control the spreading fear she would lose this day too.

It was already too late. The bubble from which the others had emanated and spread had grown so large there was nothing for it to do but burst and it did.

She gulped just as the internal explosion occurred. Her mind imploded simultaneously and one great wracking sob escaped in response to the release of pressure. A giant hiccough. A major bout to follow.

Lucy was no longer still. Or waiting. Her body now moved to the tune within. No harmonious melody was this. An orchestral feat of disassembled notes crashed within her mind, clamouring noisily and creating havoc where a tentative peace had existed a short while ago. To this timeless cacophony her body found a steady rhythm of rocking, an infantile attempt to find soothing comfort from regular tempoed motion.

Rocking was only interrupted by short, moaning periods of turning and twisting as she tried in vain to shake off the phantom that presided and filled her with fear.

If this were only a nightmare she could scream for her mother and, in doing so, awake from deathly dreams and be comforted in the arms of one who could soothe and wipe away the fears and tears.

She wept louder because she was not five and this was no dream. She wept louder but still tried to smother it because her mother lay below and Lucy did not want to see her pain mirrored in the eyes of one she loved so well. There was nothing her mother could do. Nothing anyone could do.

These were her dark days. The days of never-ending nights. Of winter without end. Of sunshine never reaching her soul. The mere thought of endless winter nights shook Lucy to her core and her terror and torment were complete.

How could she live in a world where nothing held any hope or sunshine for her? How could she move from this bed, shrouded in blankets but not cocooned in safety? How could fear and loathing and dismal phantoms find her here? She had hidden herself so well, she thought, from the outside world that filled her with dread. Here in her bedroom in the home of her family she ought to feel safe and secure. That had been the thought all those many months ago when she had all but retired from the living. A refuge in this place of safety surrounded by love was supposed to have been the antidote to her malady. But this zombie existence where her half-life only frightened herself and those she let near had never been the intention.

There was no place of safety, no hermitage where she could dwell in harmony with herself. She was her own fears. Everything that filled her with terror lived within her not in that world she had shunned. The torment and the tears belonged only to her. Her spectres were inside her mind, her heart, her soul. They had flowed through her blood and reached every part fed by it. She was the living embodiment of her own nightmare.

She screamed then. ‘Leave me alone! Give me peace!’

A sudden sound below made her realise her anguished cry had not been internal. Her mother soon would appear and Lucy could not bear, even in these extremities, to inflict that pain.

She gathered every ounce of will she could muster to control her precarious mental balance.

A light knock and the door moved swiftly inward. In seconds her mother was on the bed beside her, cradling her in her arms, rocking her and shushing gently in her hair.

Lucy wept louder. They both knew this physical comfort was only that. Mental anguish is not so easily assuaged. But still, there was comfort.

Wrapped in the arms of love the sobs subsided gradually. Petted and patted, the gloom dispersed. Each, ‘there, there’ chased the phantoms to their hidden closets. In her fingers, in her toes, in her belly, in dark, secret corners of her mind and the blood vessels within her heart. They crept away, diminished by the presence of love.

Only this immediate presence of love had that effect.

She knew they would return, that they would wait for a vacant moment, a vacuum to fill. In the dark days. In the lonely hours. In the empty minutes of each day. They would stay hidden till the next time. Shorter and shorter periods between each time. So short now, they seemed ever-present.

These enemies of life, these fear-filling suckers of life source were resident in her body. She had given them house room. Only she could evict them.

All this now known to her. The ever-eluding question was how? How to banish the deepest darkness? In the absence of sunshine? A bulb? A candle? One small match? A flint to strike the first blow?

A reason to live. A purpose to her being. A command to which her mind and soul would respond.

The now tiny bubble in her belly fizzed hesitantly. Dare it? Was this a good moment?

Still wrapped, but no longer shuddering, in her mother’s arms, she sighed deeply. One huge sigh. And another.

‘Mum, I have to find my purpose. My reason. For being here, I mean.’

‘That’s a good place to start,’ whispered her mother and tightened the hug for a few short seconds before releasing her to start a new day.

Letter to Mum

(7/2/10)

Dear Mum,

I can’t give this to you or send it but maybe if I write something down it will help me and, if I can clarify my thoughts and feelings, I’ll be able to talk to you.

There’s a hole in me that’s you-shaped. I miss knowing you; knowing that you’re down the road, physically present. I miss not being able to show my love for you. The love I had and have for you – only for you – has nowhere to go. The love of a child for its parent is exactly that. Where can I send it? It isn’t lost. It hasn’t gone. But I’ve nowhere to give it or send it.

Maybe when Dad died I was able to take that love and give more of it to you. But you’re both gone now and the love is trapped inside of me. It wells up and makes me cry.

Maybe without your own parents and without my Dad you took all of that love and transferred it to us – your children and your grandchildren. I felt the measure of that love and I miss that too.

How exactly were you able to transfer it? If that is what you did. Or maybe no – one ever can. Some loves are just for some people. The love I have for all the people in my life stems from the same source but the difference is there in each one.

I want to reach out my arms to you and hear you speak to me. But I’m afraid. I’m afraid of what I’ll hear and that I won’t cope with your words. Maybe you’re already speaking and I’m refusing to listen.

How Many

How many pounds of money

Make you happy

How many pounds of weight lost or gained

Wrest happiness from your grasp

How many lost moments of joy

Never to be recaptured

How many occasions

For success

And happiness

Bypassed in the quest that is life

(20/5/10)