These hectic days, I really have to look hard to find a quiet hour to dedicate to poetry and it helps so much to have the dozen words as a starting point.
Actually, I must tell you that I usually read the words out blindly on Saturday to C and R and ask them what the first thing is they think of and go with that, but today I’ve been feeling guilty for not getting round to writing my memoir for Jane Ann’s challenge (oh Jane Ann, you put up with me too) and, having that and the words on my mind, the poem has become a life of its own; a sort of memoir/whirl/free verse which I really love.
So, here we go:
umbrella, deeper, inherit, excuses, stand, become, thunder, childhood, joined, vowed, shifts, light
They say it rains here all the time, it just keeps raining
People drift past protected by their umbrellas
Drift past faceless and solitary down the desolate rain-filled streets
It’s best to carry an umbrella they say, that’s how it must be
I do own an umbrella which I keep in an old iron stand in the corner of the front hall closet
It shares the stand with my aunt’s cane and a dull rapier.
The door stays closed and the umbrella stays there.
I never think to use it. I never do.
It’s something I took from my father’s things after he died.
I think I took it to hang on to for some protection after I didn’t have him anymore.
Some people might think it’s strange to inherit an umbrella.
But to me it feels right to have it.
It’s black and has a smooth, curved wooden handle and closes with a little shell button.
It’s a bit rickety with age and the metal frame has become rusty in places.
The handle is joined to the shaft by a brass ring which is turning green.
Someone said that is the fate of brass if it gets wet.
I opened it and stood under it after my father died.
I remembered standing under that umbrella in childhood.
I stood beside him in the thunder and lightning and the always rain here.
It used to be so much bigger.
Now I stand in the rain without my father’s umbrella
I know there’s nothing deeper than the melancholy music of the rain on an umbrella
But I’m not sure I ever vowed not to use it
It’s easy to find excuses for forgetting
Eventually the rain shifts up the mountain that is holding it over the city
A brighter light will shine on the desolate rain soaked streets
And people will fold their umbrellas and show their faces and carry their protection in their hands
And the memories will fade a little with the rain