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Poetry, Australasia, Australia
Somebody.
By Maurice Fairfield.
Somebody sentenced me to life some time ago.
For something I can't remember doing.
Now as my sentence dwindles to its close,
Freedom no longer pulls me as it did.
My cell though cramped, is cosy,
And the meals arrive on time.
Also, I have grown used to them.
I have some cell-mates.
One I chose: the others just turned up from somewhere.
We have our ups and downs, but on the whole
I would miss them
Last night a warning cough rang down the corridor
The door has stood ajar for some time now.
How long before it stands held wide
And a calling finger beckons?


Copyright © Maurice Fairfield 2004



Pictures at an Auction.
By Maurice Fairfield.
A poem suggested by memories of visits to Gilbert Baitson's on Anlaby Road, Hull, England.
Into this place of dust and dealers come
The kitchen dressers and the chests of drawers
Which lived with families while the families
Grew, grew old and died.
Pianos wait the touch of vanished hand and here and there
Pathetic boxes of possessions stand.
The tacks and rasps
Three-footed iron lasts
Boot mendin gear
From harsher times than now.
The china ornaments and souvenirs
From seaside holidays long gone.
Chipped crockery and rusty kitchen knives,
Honed to a thrifty leanness by the years
And always, photographs.
The children holding prizes,
And wedding groups
And laughing girls in nineteen-twenties hats
And always, soldiers.
Brand-new young men all stiffly posed
In stiffly tailored brand-new uniforms
All different yet alike
Tall, short, clean-lipped or moustached
But always young.
The squandered husbands,sons and fiances
Whose pictures hung remembered
On, rose-patterned parlour walls
Who knows how long.
Outlasting all surviving love
And now brought here
By relatives too far removed to care.
One time a decent burial at the tip
Would have conferred some dignity
On these remains, now bought as kitsch.
"I've got to have him darling, he's so sweet."
Being, ourselves, above this kind of thing
We turn to share a brief embarrassed smile.
Your hand finds mine and linked
We seek the sunshine and the open air.
Our mood is clouded by our brush
With those whose lives and loves are gone
Seeing ahead a coming time when all
My strength your beauty dwindle to
A frozen shadow fading on some stranger's wall.


Copyright © Maurice Fairfield 2004

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