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Held aloft

We'd laid old George to rest the week before,
at ninety-one he now rejoined his wife,
no heirs to his estate, so one thing more
to do, and that's clear where he'd spent his life.
Downstairs had been quite easy, George was neat,
his things all had a purpose, neatly stored,
for tidiness this home was hard to beat
all clean and dusted, nothing was ignored.
It seemed almost that since his wife passed on
his solemn duty was to keep a shrine,
no other purpose now that she had gone,
he spent each day just sat, biding his time.
A plain and simple man, a life lived long
but opening a hatch proved we were wrong.

Met with a cold shaft of descending air
and particles of dust caught in the light
I climbed up while my friend steadied the stairs
feet dangling then disappeared from sight.
The torchlight didn't lie, I'd been deceived,
expecting just to find an empty space,
instead I stared unable to believe
how much there was in such a tiny place.
Now, yes, I would expect a Christmas tree
and Golf clubs that had long since seen a round,
a failed attempt at home brewing, maybe
and pictures he thought lost but never found.
But hidden in a tired old briefcase
were things well hid that old George couldn't face.

Tied in a green silk ribbon, slightly frayed
 letters to him from his loving Maureen
about over the years the plans they'd made,
a little odd, since his wife's name was Jean.
A small cardboard box held a simple note
with medal and a ribbon tucked inside
thanking him, someone's wife had briefly wrote,
for being with her husband when he died.
I sat and read, transfixed, beside the hatch
the commendation from his high command
for acts of courage, mentioned in dispatch
in battles fought across Tunisia's sands.
It seems for these few things George had no use,
the man who wouldn't say 'Boo' to a Goose.

No time to dwell on this, I carried on,
my eyes attracted to a wooden box
the thing that caught my eye as torchlight shone
was that the lid had far too many locks.
This was no safe, a simple wooden crate
that otherwise one wouldn't think about
easy to break but did such locks dictate
that what was in there wasn't coming out?
A screwdriver was all it took to break
the brass hinges and hasps around the lid,
this liberty I was about to take
I suddenly was sorry that I did.
I paused for breath and let some moments pass
my preconceptions shattering like glass.

Swaddled within a crocheted woollen shawl
doll-like but skin with a leathery feel
chin touching knees curled up into a ball
at first glance, just a toy- but this was real.
she looked maybe, oh, three months old, I guessed,
and judging by the romper suit, a girl,
in cheery pinks and white she lay there, dressed
with matching bonnet hiding wispy curls.
Horror and disbelief fought for control,
recoiling, heart rate now in overdrive,
a stark realisation gripped my soul
that George knew of this when he was alive.
This open box no longer could disguise
the George we thought we knew was built on lies.

Composure now regained, I reached inside
and gently pulled the card out from her hands
on which the feelings mother had to hide
were written for someone to understand.
“ I had my child in nineteen fifty two
but out of wedlock gave birth secretly
they would have taken her, what could I do?
She's all I had and was the world to me.
I moved away and found another place
a dingy hole, so damp, not very nice
one night I woke and saw her pallid face
and realised for this she'd paid the price.
In case folk find out she must stay unseen,
Please take care of her, George, my love- Maureen.

The loft now cleared is empty, hatch is closed,
Golf clubs and barrels gone to garage sales,
the picture frames, well, I hung on to those
and good dish cloths and towels still tied in bales.
The medals and dispatches soon will sit
within a glass case for the world to see
since they're a recollection truly fit
for such a hero no-one knew but me.
And what of the secret letters? They're all gone
ashes to ashes, as they surely must.
Child's memory will no longer live on,
returned now to the ground to turn to dust.
no trace left for the future, no more proof
that there were two Georges under one roof

For contest 'Photo story', sponsor Eve Roper. Picture number three.

15th November 2017

Copyright © | Year Posted 2017

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Date: 2/23/2018 9:27:00 PM
A movie, of course! Wow! I just met you...wish I had more hours in my day to read everything.Will pick carefully and do my best. bbn .
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Date: 12/8/2017 2:23:00 PM
exceptional story telling Mr Viv i got goosebumps reading it again :-) congrats on your win:-) hugs Jan xx
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Date: 12/5/2017 12:04:00 PM
Glad you're back writing Viv! This is spectacular storytelling, wow! what an imagination you have all from a picture. War vet, Tunisia, lost love Maureen, baby, so many details it captured and kept my attention to the end. It would make a great movie, you should expand it and turn it into a screenplay!
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Viv Wigley
Date: 12/6/2017 1:19:00 AM
thanks for the compliments John, however screenplays may be just out of my comfort zone. Nice thought though.... Regards, Viv
Date: 12/3/2017 4:57:00 PM
Came back to tell you BIG congrats. You put so much work into this one.
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Date: 12/2/2017 10:39:00 PM
Viv - I am in pause, mouth open and absorbing such a rush of emotions on so many inner levels. This gift that now sits here, with me, is from your poem, but I can't speak or write now. Right now, I'm a puddle of feel with depth unknown. I will say WOW. I did say Wow, right? Yi ... CayCay
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Viv Wigley
Date: 12/3/2017 2:09:00 AM
Thanks, CayCay, my humble offering ceraintly appears to have struck a chord with many. Viv x
Date: 12/2/2017 6:38:00 PM
Congratulations on your first place! Great poem.
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Viv Wigley
Date: 12/3/2017 2:10:00 AM
Thanks, Rhoda, glad you liked it. Viv x
Date: 12/2/2017 3:53:00 PM
1st I want to thank you for entering my contest ,Viv, your imagery and flow of words is beautiful. 2nd I want to congratulate you for POTD. and 3rd Congratulations on your fantastic 1st place write ! Hugs Eve ~`*
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Viv Wigley
Date: 12/3/2017 2:11:00 AM
Firstly, I want to thank you for thanking me for entering your contest, Eve, it was most enjoyable. Secondly, thanks for my first place, and thirdly, has anyone recently told you that you're lovely? Viv x
Date: 12/1/2017 8:59:00 PM
What a wonderful story, Viv, and presented and told with integrity and care .. I enjoyed this thoroughly, and had to read a couple of times, for the sheer enjoyment alone. Third on the "Best New" list, and well-earned, my friend! Blessings - keep up the great work!
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Viv Wigley
Date: 12/3/2017 2:12:00 AM
Thanks Gregory, it was a pleasant surprise to make the list. Regards, Viv
Date: 11/28/2017 5:52:00 PM
This is a well written poem. It kept me reading to the end. I found the ending very sad. You wrote a great poem. have a nice evening my friend.
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Viv Wigley
Date: 11/29/2017 3:16:00 AM
Thanks for dropping by and reading, Darlene, much appreciated. Viv x
Date: 11/28/2017 6:15:00 AM
Exceptional write Viv, the secrets we hide. you should add to it and post it on the short story page.
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Viv Wigley
Date: 11/29/2017 3:17:00 AM
Thanks, James, it appears to be well received, which is nice. Regards, Viv
Date: 11/24/2017 8:39:00 PM
This is quite the powerful poem. Very emotional. Amazingly well done, Viv. Congrats.
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Viv Wigley
Date: 11/29/2017 3:17:00 AM
Thanks, Line, glad you liked it. regards, Viv
Date: 11/24/2017 10:02:00 AM
A wonderful love story on many levels Liv, sorry I was late to congratulate you for such a brilliant effort...
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Viv Wigley
Date: 11/29/2017 3:18:00 AM
Thanks, Charlie, I'm glad everyone seems to like it on one level or another. regards, Viv
Date: 11/20/2017 12:01:00 AM
My goodness, such a man sure loved that woman Maureen!!! This is very unusual, Viv, how you wove such an incredible tale just being inspired by the picture. And this is a crown of sonnets? Wow, how amazing!!!
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Viv Wigley
Date: 11/20/2017 12:17:00 AM
Thanks, Andrea, yes, it's surprising how imagination can run riot in the small hours. Viv x
Date: 11/19/2017 9:16:00 AM
The Spirit Soars and so do I while racing through words and then sigh…. Peace has a place swept behind some fears Our infinite Lord love has no hiding place …
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Viv Wigley
Date: 11/21/2017 7:52:00 AM
Thanks, James,I appreciate your visit. Regards, Viv
Date: 11/18/2017 6:04:00 AM
Extraordinary writing, Viv, a story so beautifully told in sonnets:) I like the clever 'loft' title too:) a winner for me, congratulations on POTD:)
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Viv Wigley
Date: 11/19/2017 12:59:00 AM
Thanks, Jo, glad that you enjoyed it.
Date: 11/17/2017 2:10:00 PM
I think anyone who can compose a Crown of Sonnets is beyond talented!
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Viv Wigley
Date: 11/18/2017 12:29:00 AM
Thanks, Dale, much appreciated. I just hope that in poetry terms this isn't my 'Sergeant Pepper' or 'Dark side of the moon'. Regards, Viv
Date: 11/16/2017 10:06:00 PM
I have to concur with Casarah, WOW, what a great poem, I love story telling poems, and is amazing you did this in sonnet form!
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Viv Wigley
Date: 11/17/2017 12:55:00 AM
Thanks, Arthur, I enjoy a yarn when one graces me with it's presence. Regards, Viv
Date: 11/16/2017 12:51:00 PM
Extraordinary prose ... so riveting and heart-wrenching, Viv. Kudos for POTD. This is a worthy candidate for POTY. Brilliantly detailed pearls of sonnets. Love and more love always.
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Viv Wigley
Date: 11/17/2017 12:56:00 AM
Thanks, Freddie, very kind. I'm glad it's got a good reception. Regards, Viv
Date: 11/16/2017 11:03:00 AM
I'm back to congratulate you on having this wonderful poetic story honored with POTD Viv. Bravo! : )
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Viv Wigley
Date: 11/16/2017 11:22:00 AM
mahalo x
Date: 11/16/2017 9:54:00 AM
I didn't think I had time to read this this morning, but I couldn't stop!!! A real winner of any day!
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Viv Wigley
Date: 11/16/2017 10:02:00 AM
Sorry if I made you late, Sunlite, but glad you enjoyed the journey. Viv x
Date: 11/16/2017 9:50:00 AM
Enjoyed the story...sounds real...Congratulations...All the best Viv
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Viv Wigley
Date: 11/16/2017 9:52:00 AM
Thanks, Arturo, for the complement. Maybe it's the November darkness that inspires such tales. Glad you enjoyed reading it. Regards, Viv
Date: 11/16/2017 9:47:00 AM
A great read, much enjoyed.
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Viv Wigley
Date: 11/16/2017 9:53:00 AM
Thank you, James, very kind. Regards, Viv
Date: 11/16/2017 9:18:00 AM
Wow, what an incredible story! Got goosebumps springing... Amazing and congrats on POTD and good luck in the contest... hugs and smiles :)
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Viv Wigley
Date: 11/16/2017 9:50:00 AM
Thanks, Akkina, I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Viv x
Date: 11/16/2017 8:24:00 AM
- Awesome written, Viv !!!! - Congratulations on your p.o.t.d. and luck in the contest :) - hugs // Anne-Lise :)
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Viv Wigley
Date: 11/16/2017 9:51:00 AM
Taak, Anne-Lise, delighted that you enjoyed it. Hope you and yours are well. Viv x
Date: 11/16/2017 8:18:00 AM
wow, what a story!
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Viv Wigley
Date: 11/16/2017 9:54:00 AM
Thanks, Casarah, it means a lot from you. Promise I'll drop by more now I've more time. Hope you're all well. Viv x