I can’t remember what we talked about

Most poems you’ll find here, are quite light-hearted or at least good-spirited. However, it is not my intention to ignore deeper or sadder themes. Let this poem be a testimony to that. We’ve all lost someone, be it recently or a long time ago. In my opinion, Chris Riddell has managed to describe the feeling of reminiscing about that person beautifully. And that’s all I can say…

I can’t remember what we talked about
But we talked all through that afternoon,
The balcony bright with sunshine behind you
As you rocked on that old rocking chair from the Watton sale rooms.
I can’t remember what we talked about.

It is not your absence that fills the pockets of my heart with stones.
We were so often far apart:
In age; in experience, in geography –

Your voice on the other side of a line from
Cairo; Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur…
But when we talked, you were as close to me as anyone will ever be.

Nkosi Sikelel’iafrika, you loved that anthem- a stone.
Banana leaf curry, electrical storm over penang- a stone.

Hospital bed, wires, bleeps, your stubble, your toe nails still
growing, a pieta,
Our father’s benediction, his hand on your brow
As you left us-
Stones, stones, stones.

But that afternoon in Florence Road
We talked and we both knew we loved
Each other though would never say as much.
That memory eases my stone heavy heart.

I can’t remember what we talked about.

Chris Riddell


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