Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Rose in winter

I walked out one February morning
to pluck a winter rose.
So perfect.
Yet the heart
was frozen
velvety petals
folded on crystal
solid as stone
on that day, in the pale
Saturday sun.

Crimson petals, fragile
as they thaw and fall
wither and blacken.
The memory remains
and breaks my heart.
I catch them in a porcelain dish
to keep forever
to remember this day.

Fifty four years ago - 8th February 1958 - it snowed on our wedding day. Bitter cold as I stood in my long white wedding dress, Raymond holding my hand so tight. We have survived so much together since then, he and I; and now comes change, and something I find difficult to write about. Something was wrong; I could not detect quite what it was; it crept up on us unawares. But now we know. After three months of increasing illness and symptoms I will not divulge, he at last went to the doctor, and two weeks ago was diagnosed with diabetes type two. It was such a shock, to see this dear and strong, clever man so vulnerable. In his 80th year, we could not expect that he could always continue all the building works and heavy tasks that have been his way of life.

Early October, caravanning at Malvern; happy days
We learn that diabetes type two is treatable with tablets, diet (eat less) and exercise. Today he was told to increase the daily dose of pills. And I discover that he has suspected what was wrong since the summer, or perhaps even earlier, and ignored it. Many odd moments suddenly fell into place. Casual comments about wanting to go on a 3-week trip to Europe "because it would be the last long tour he would do." And booking it. Casually looking for a motorhome that we could both drive to share the travelling. Falling asleep and having no energy; and so on. We are not the first couple to discover that one's whole life has been turned upside down, or that we need to make adjustments. We're picking up the pieces. What will be will be.

But as I was picking another 'Othello' rose in my wild front garden this winter's morning, to give to my beloved with early morning tea tomorrow, I noticed that again its heart was frozen. You could see the ice, like crystal, between the folded petals. Dark thoughts. This rose flowers all winter, hanging its heavy head. 

And that is how I feel right now: head hanging and heart frozen. I am captured in a time-warp from which I cannot escape. I would not want to do so, but the cause is exercising all of me. If you look closely at the first rose, and double-click the image, you will see the ice. There is one rose left to pick this year on the bush; it is frozen, too, and will never open for it is shrivelled and too immature.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Snow Sunday

softly falling
in the night.
A white world,
on waking;
and so quiet.
Mist descends
into the valley.
No sound,
but that of

This is the first time I have felt able to post for a while on this more personal of my blogs. Soon, I hope, things will return to normal (or normal for here) and I will have more to say and share. Please forgive me for ignoring the blogging world; it was not intentional.