Tuesday, 19 November 2019

'She cannot throw his shoes away' - Martha and Lazarus

As a wee writing challenge to myself, I'm exploring different forms of poetry.
Earlier in the year, at writing group, we discussed the 'villanelle' -
think 'Do not go gentle into that good night', by Dylan Thomas, as an example.
One of our number had raised the subject, and then shared an attempt [brilliant]
that she'd written. It planted a seed. Now on holiday by the seaside, I've a little
time to write. In having a go at this form, I really enjoyed the winding thread of
rhyme and the pattern.

Below, my first attempt.
The subject matter is grief - with a nod to Joan Didion's 'shoes' in her superb
'The year of magical thinking.'  
Here, we have Martha, sister of Lazarus.
Perhaps this may come in handy over Holy Week, or at a bereavement service over Advent/Christmas.

Martha, on the death of Lazarus
She cannot throw his shoes away
and runs her thumb along the grooves -
perhaps he’ll need them back one day?

She feels the hollows toes have made,
and feels his presence in the room -
she cannot throw his shoes away.

She sits and holds her tears at bay
looks at his clothes, smells death’s perfume -
perhaps he’ll need them back one day?

She stumbles in her grief, feels rage,
feels numb, feels sad; how grief consumes -
she cannot throw his shoes away.

She rises, at the Rabbi’s gaze
and, shoes in hand, a small hope blooms -
perhaps he’ll need them back one day?

‘Come out!’ she hears the Rabbi say
and signs of life sound from the tomb:
she cannot throw his shoes away
perhaps he’ll need them back one day?
                                            ©Nik Macdonald, 19 Nov. 2019

1 comment:

Maren said...

thank you for this wonderful poem.