What I’ve been doing instead of blogging #2

Alternative title: Oops I did it* again

Long term followers (and long suffering family members) might remember that I marked just over 300 exam scripts last summer, and moaned about it quite a lot. This year I marked 407 and the moaning increased proportionally. Many thanks to DH, Dad and our (recently upgraded – see Dad’s blog for more details) FFF for entertaining the Jam while I did it.

As I’m a glutton for punishment, I thought I’d share this year’s unseen poem with you and invite your thoughts. There could even be a prize for anyone who can say anything about it (however tenuous) that one of the 407 students didn’t…

Long Distance II by Tony Harrison

Though my mother was already two years dead
Dad kept her slippers warming by the gas,
put hot water bottles her side of the bed
and still went to renew her transport pass.

You couldn’t just drop in. You had to phone.
He’d put you off an hour to give him time 
to clear away her things and look alone 
as though his still raw love were such a crime.

He couldn’t risk my blight of disbelief
though sure that very soon he’d hear her key
scrape in the rusted lock and end his grief.
He knew she’d just popped out to get the tea.

I believe life ends with death, and that is all.
You haven’t both gone shopping; just the same,
in my new black leather phone book there’s your name 
and the disconnected number I still call.

(*signed up to mark exam papers)


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