Francesca Johnson

Rookie (I'm a metal tiger - there's your clue / Europe)

Jim Of The Cut - Poem by Francesca Johnson

Jim sits alone in his cottonwool world,
a man without a recent memory.
The shaking of his hands
caused not just by the vodca he consumes
every day
but from the cruel disease
he inherited from his family.

Martina works hard for a meagre living
and has a little one to look after
but she will check on Jim each day,
making sure that the prostrate body
seen lying on the settee
through uncurtained windows
is still breathing.
And she will gently remind him
in her soft Irish lilt
that the food he left outside two days ago
may no longer be fit for eating.

Barry checks Jim’s boat
and makes sure that it is safe
to be on the water.
He will roll up his sleeves
and help clean up the mess
left by a failing mind.
And he will open up the tobacco packet
proffered by Jim
whose own hands are unable to grip.

Nigel will help
whenever he can.

I will make him that omelette
he hinted at
when I spoke of the eggs and bacon
I have on my boat.
He told me of the sausages
he thinks he has, too.

Jim will trundle along the towpath
looking for company
and find it.
He will tell us of things
which never happened,
and we will smile.
And he will, too.
He’ll talk of ex-wives
and childhood happenings,
remembering the details vividly
but will not remember those things
he did this morning.

It’s Jim’s birthday today.
He’ll have company
to celebrate it.

Happy birthday, Jim.

Comments about Jim Of The Cut by Francesca Johnson

  • (6/19/2008 5:52:00 AM)

    Friendship extraordinaire! Excellent composition. (Report)Reply

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  • (2/2/2008 5:58:00 PM)

    Fran you use your pen lightly and skillfully in this warm-hearted piece about Jim and his Parkinsons and the community of river folk who care. How lucky you are to be part of such an old-fashioned network and how beautifully you share your story. Some superb images deserve repeating:

    'Jim sits alone in his cottonwool world,
    a man without a recent memory.'

    'He will roll up his sleeves
    and help clean up the mess
    left by a failing mind.'

    It is a pleasure to read such impressive work. love, Allie ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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  • (11/25/2007 4:53:00 PM)

    This beautiful loving poem brought tears to my eyes, Fran. Your observations are so sympathetic yet not at all maudlin. This is one of your typical best. Lovely. (Report)Reply

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  • (11/24/2007 11:38:00 AM)

    Frannie...These tales of your travels are absolutely awesome! ! The characters (well...friends really) that you meet along the way, are portrayed by you in such a loving and gentle fashion. You could paint even the nastiest curmudgeon to be a Saint! Well done

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  • (11/23/2007 7:07:00 AM)

    Fran, you have such a keen and empathic eye for detail... there is great sadness in this tale but only I think for the people that can realise it. For Jim, he is probably happy in his 'world'. I'm glad that you see this and paint your pictures with tenderness and care. HG: -) xx (Report)Reply

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  • (11/19/2007 7:48:00 AM)

    Hi Fran: Another very fine addition to your portrait gallery of the Cut! This is classy work you're doing: each of these poems is so different from one another, yet they share the same economical yet clear and powerful brushstrokes, and the same world-savvy and perhaps slightly detached, yet charitable and affectionate perspective.

    I enjoy your other pieces a great deal, but I find myself truly caught up in the world you are creating and populating in your Cut poems. It's like watching Masters creating his Spoon River Anthology, only much, much better! If I might make so bold to ask, what do you do with your poetry beyond putting it up on PoemHunter?

    Thanks again for an enjoyable read. By the way, I suggested to several friends that they check out your work, and they came back with the same enthusiasm I feel for your work.

    Chuck Toll

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  • (11/13/2007 3:40:00 PM)

    Fran, this is deeply touching and sad. Sincerity pours from every word which draws the reader into Jim's world. Top marks and thanks for sharing it my friend.

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  • (11/12/2007 7:52:00 AM)

    Fran, this is deeply touching; and despite an almost impersonal, quasi-objective style, your reader is left with a sense of fondness and admiration for 'Jim'. A lucky man all told, perhaps. t x (Report)Reply

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  • (11/12/2007 5:36:00 AM)

    The sincerest piece I've read in a long time. I can see what has gone into it. Something soft and eremitic and sad. S x (Report)Reply

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Poem Submitted: Monday, November 12, 2007

Poem Edited: Sunday, April 24, 2011

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