Tony Harrison

(1937 - / Leeds / England)

Long Distance Ii - Poem 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.


Submitted by Scott Dagostino


Comments about Long Distance Ii by Tony Harrison

  • Julie Smith (4/5/2017 3:49:00 PM)


    It's the most terrible thing ever when someone you love is gone... Beautiful poem. (Report) Reply

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  • (4/5/2017 12:33:00 PM)


    Sometimes people build shrines to the memories of those they loved and lost..A headstone or an urn are too cold but personal possessions of the loved one are closely heartfelt as a reminder..Life may end when we physically die but memories remain alive for as long as someone lives and loves.. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (4/5/2017 9:43:00 AM)


    Just the same! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Pranab K Chakraborty (4/5/2017 7:53:00 AM)


    Skillfully crafted a veiled truth just waiting to be unveiled by our time. Fantastic the expression to make us believe the fact abstract but unavoidable. Beautiful. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (4/5/2017 2:41:00 AM)


    End his grief.... thanks for posting.., , (Report) Reply

  • Tom Allport (4/5/2017 2:18:00 AM)


    a poem of how some of us deal with the loss of a loved one? beautifully written. (Report) Reply

  • Rajnish Manga (4/5/2017 1:49:00 AM)


    A very sad poem indeed. How overwhelming is the absence of our loved ones when the are not around. Thanks a lot for sharing the same. (Report) Reply

  • Mohammed Asim Nehal (11/25/2016 9:03:00 AM)

    Heart Felt
    Inspiring and sentiments filled poem....10++ (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (2/23/2016 4:07:00 PM)


    This poem is heart-wrenching- it just plain rips your guts out of your body and puts a torch to your heart. (Report) Reply

  • Jasbir Chatterjee (2/23/2016 1:04:00 AM)


    This poem is really wonderful and certainly deserves to be 'Poem of the day.' (Report) Reply

  • (2/10/2012 2:02:00 AM)


    Wonderful poem Tony, speaks so eloquently of the permanence of the ones we love. (Report) Reply

  • (1/21/2012 8:01:00 AM)


    To all who read this poem: phone your parents and if you can't tell them you love
    them just let them know you're thinking of them.Believe me, they're a long time dead!
    (Report) Reply

  • (2/11/2009 12:44:00 PM)


    Beautiful. The ones we lose live on in our hearts ans mind. (Report) Reply

  • Charles M Moore (3/14/2006 7:42:00 PM)


    Beautifuly written Tony, with great warmth and affection.Charlie. (Report) Reply

  • (1/16/2006 10:48:00 AM)


    My brother died 3 years ago, and his wife, my sister-in-law, has been distraught. She has maintained his voice message on their telephone still, which has caused comment among the rest of the family and people who telephone her. This moving poem for the first time made me understand her desperate feelings of bereavement, and how she is clinging on. (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: shopping, grief, believe, mother, water, alone, death, time, life



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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