If Greta’s Right

If Greta’s right, then we might have to give
our cars up, and stop flying and perhaps
stop eating meat – why how’s a man to live
without a car as big as other chaps

If Greta’s right (how can she be, she’s just
a girl, and what is more she’s slightly odd)
We’ll have to live on lettuce, and a crust
And shiver, and in winter go unshod

That Greta’s wrong. That’s easier to say
Much easier than looking at ourselves
It’s not as if we’ll live long anyway
Sod Greta. Pile the plastic on the shelves

And light the sky up bright with fossil fuels
The children lie. The scientists are fools.

© Gail Foster 23rd September 2019

 

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Too Late For Words

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Oh, when they were alive we never said

The things we say about them now they’re dead

Too far away now, too far gone to hear

Gone, never to return or reappear

Too late to say how much they meant to us

Just hollow words, and funerals, and fuss

And sorry tears, and memories, and pain

And wishing we could see their face again

That gaze exchanged by eyes when last we met

That lingered a split second, we forget

That precious image, vague, so hard to find

In cupboard corners of unconscious mind

*

Why didn’t we just tell them they were great

Too late today, too late now, all too late

We had that thought that day, we didn’t call

What if we never called that much at all

Or when we did, droned on and on and on

No chance to listen now they’re dead and gone

And our last words, a blessing or a curse?

A dirty joke or elevating verse?

*

And what if it was bad, so very bad

Unreasonably difficult or sad

Too late to shake hands now, forget, forgive

For they have gone and we have stayed to live

To reconcile our difference alone

With icy wind and cold unyielding stone

With questioning, with anger, fear and prayer

And all the time just wishing they were there

*

They change us most, our dearest kith and kin

Lay waste the landscapes that we dwell within

Leave shattered palaces in ruined wake

Leave with that part of us they chose to take

Make waves rise up on ponds in silent glades

Blast particles of light through sunken shades

Part oceans with their leaving, break the sky

Leave fish upon the shore line high and dry

*

And even those we never thought we knew

The ones we thought were simply passing through

However long the number of their days

Do change us, in small subtle little ways

Make dust prints on the table in the hall

Leave crumbs on plates, and scuff marks on the wall

Blow gentle breezes soft through window crack

That whisper ‘I am never coming back’

*

The more we loved the more we miss, the more

We yearn for some strange loophole in the law

Unwilling to concede the battle lost

To pay for love, and ever count the cost

We search in dream, in lonely mountain walk

For one last touch, for one last quiet talk

And briefly, in the corner of our eye

We see them come, and go, and wave goodbye

*

At every funeral we stand and swear

That next time we will say how much we care

Say that we love them, call them on the phone

To let them know that they are not alone

And every time we fail and forget

That well intentioned heartfelt course we set

I loved you, did you know that, tell me true?

Unanswered echoes coming back at you

Dark holes within the soul and endless night

Bright angels lost in distant blinding light

The empty vase, the upturned empty chair

Deep lesions of the heart and songs in air

*

by Gail