Terry Collett

Gold Star - 23,291 Points (13/12/1947 / LONDON)

Breath Full Of Sights - Poem by Terry Collett

Benedict's mother
stood by the twin tub
washing machine
lifting the steaming wash
from the washer
to the spinner
with wooden tongs,
her eyes focused,
her arm straining.

He watched her;
a book, Plato's Republic,
lay open
on the table
by his hand.

He studied
the red hands,
the worn fingers,
how she wiped the wet
from her forehead
with the back
of her hand.

Plato’s Philosopher Kings
seemed too hard
for his delicate mind
at that stage,
the Greek world
too far off
in the past
to give him comfort.

Maybe you ought
to read something lighter,
his mother said,
pushing down
the washing
with the end
of the tongs.

Find it hard to read
at all at present,
he said,
an effort.

Making the effort
is part of the effort,
she said.

You don’t want to be
in the hospital again,
do you?

He closed up
the Plato book.

He wondered
how Julie was.
He’d not seen her
for months.

Good job too
his mother
would have said
if she had known
about her.

No, he said,
not there again.

His mother spun
the washing,
the noise ratted
the machine.

He rose from the table
and walked down
the passage way.
The machine rattled still.

He went in the back room
and put Miles Davis
on the hifi.
The muted horn,
the saxophone weaving,
the drummer
keeping pace,
jazz on a highway,
he closed his eyes,
head full of darkness,
breath full of sighs.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, June 10, 2013

Poem Edited: Monday, June 10, 2013

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