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 for Daniel Weissbort

Some poems meant only for my eyes

About a grief I can’t let go

But I want to, want to throw

It away like an old worn-out cloak

Or screw up like a ball of over-written

Trash and toss into the corner bin.
I said it must come up or out I don't know which but either way Will do, I know I can't write in the vein Of ‘Bridge’ this time, it takes an optimistic view, Bright day stuff, sunlight on Roundhay Park's Childrens’ Day Or just wandering round the streets With Margaret, occasionally stopping To whisper or to kiss.
Now over sixty I wonder How and where to go from here Daniel your rolled out verse Unending Kaddish gave me hints But what can you or anyone say About our son, the other one, who from Such a bright childhood came to such A death-in-life? Dreamless sleep is better than the consciousness Of bitter days; I sit in silent prayer and read Of Job, the Prodigal, the Sermon on the Mount.
I read and think and sigh aloud to my silent, Silent self.
I write him letters long or short About the weather or a book I've read and hope His studies are kept up.
I can’t say ‘How much Do you drink? Is it more or less or just the same?’ Its your own life But then its partly one we shared for years From birth along a road I thought we went Along as one.
Some years ago I sensed a change, An invisible glass wall between us, between It seemed you and everyone, the way friends Hurried past, patting your shoulder in passing, A joke in the pub, the Leeds boy who'd made good Then threw it all away for drink.
Your boxed-up books, texts in five languages Or six, the well-thumbed classics worn cassettes Of Bach, Tippett’s ‘Knot Garden’, invitation Cards, the total waste, my own and your’s and her’s.
Love does not seem an answer That you want to know, The hours, the years of waiting Gather loss on loss until My hopes are brief as days That rush and go like speeding trains That never stop.
You drink, I pay, You ramble through an odd text-book And go and eat and drink and talk And lose your way, then phone ‘To set things straight’ but nothing’s Ever straight with you, the binges Start and stop, a local train that Locals know will never go beyond The halt where only you get off.

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