The Poetry Place

Last Days
In those last days you were drifting
away from us more quickly than
any of us realised, you made child-like
by illness and morphine as I got you
a cigarette after your jelly and ice-cream.
I sat with you for an hour before going
to work, helped you to smoke your
John Player Blue but was taken aback
when you asked me to finish it for you.
You closed your eyes and I said,
“I’ll see you tomorrow, Da,” and left you
there lying on the sofa, already asleep –
this last memory of you flaring now in grief
like a beacon lit and kept safe.

By Noel Duffy

The Wedding
Like bride and groom
apple-blossom and evergreen
flirt under a blue canopy.
Softly they sway
to the music of the
north east wind,
And leaning on the
saddle of a stationary bike,
an onlooker at the wedding.

By Rachel Stanley

The Leaving… at my old school
‘Rapid-Fire’-style, before 9am papers are dealt
Fresh-print-ink filling the air with questions
Fluttering and touching down.
Each desk a battlefield of biros, pencils, pens of felt
And calculators. Our futures.
“You Can Start”. “From”. “Now” !
Cough, rattle, splutter: into a big hanky,
My stifled cry ‘O God’,
At the first maths proposition
‘I’m sorry mum and dad’

By Nessa Jennings