His Rocking Chair

His Rocking Chair

The house is almost cleared. Boxes are packed
With clothes and linen from now empty drawers
And near your friend, the radio, I’ve stacked
Memorabilia from three distant wars:
A helmet from the Somme, a letter signed
By Ike, a tribesman’s dagger from Afghan,
And all your gleaming medals left behind
For me to cherish as their guardian.

I find my hands more work, sorting cassettes
Of music that you loved and played too loud,
And numerous photographs. I now forget
Your rank with P and O, but you were proud
Recalling all the countries you had seen,
The famous folk you’d met. You smile at me
From Sydney Harbour Bridge, standing between
Two pretty girls in 1933.

So dashing then; a welcome in each port
And broken hearts galore. Checking the place
I find your glasses; one silver hair caught
In the hinge, an inky thumb print on the case.
The doorbell rings, bringing removal men
Brushing past your topcoat in the hall. I keep
A smile upon my face, act brave, but when
They carry out your rocking chair I weep.

 

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