The Guns of Navarone, 1961
“It’s fifty years since I have felt alone,”
he said, and told the story of the day
he went to see The Guns of Navarone.
Before the days of text and mobile phone
you hand wrote letters when you were away
from loved ones, so they wouldn’t feel alone.
He’d written, but her answer hadn’t shown,
and so he thought, to keep his blues at bay,
he’d go and see The Guns of Navarone—
a classic film, and one that’s still well-known.
He sat and watched the final credits play
and hadn’t ever felt quite so alone.
He walked back by the park, still on his own
and met his mum. He took great pains to say
how much he’d liked The Guns of Navarone
but was there now a letter back at home?
There was, and so he ran the rest of the way.
For fifty years he hasn’t felt alone.
Today he hears The Guns of Navarone.
Waiting for the Death Certificate
My father says it’s worse than waiting
to learn she was dead, and at first
I silently demur, adding the silent codicil
it depends where you were waiting—
at home, with sherry and my mother’s
best friend, or in hospital, waiting for her last breath,
but then, into the second day of waiting—
a pile-up of Easter Holiday deaths, her mad
tumble from bed awaiting the coroner’s nod—
I start to agree. I feel like I’m waiting
to return to life, to stop thinking
about death and its checklists.
The phone rings. It isn’t them. I’m waiting
to be able to remember the mother I knew,
not the frail ghost stuck with tubes, but the one
who wrote the notes we examine while we’re waiting—
£15 for Tony, call Dawn, email Peter,
Phoenix Club next Wed—give Val a ride.
My mother’s handwriting,
forever now waiting to remind her.