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This is what being alive is all about.

Turn on the tap and hold your hand under.

See – you’ve created something wonderful –

a waterfall, a miniature millstream, a coil of chaotic fluid.

Never the same, never. It’s reassuring.

On the cusp of the New Year I remember that.

There’s a need in me to believe that after

endless dilutions of days some things grow stronger,

memories made immortal by emotion.

There was a death, and a burial with closed faces.

I stood in a church yard watching a life slide to the past,

its Self stored in our hindbrains, poised for recollection.

From the year’s grief we wove the threads of a new life.

A coming together of want and will sent us south

to hear the curious language of new birds.

Searching the grape-filled countryside, we found it

bordered by cypress and oak, (en Francais, le chêne),

its walls warmed by southern sun in a tannic sky.

A Frenchwoman, delighted that I knew her trees,

gave me a grandfather clock and her Chanel shoes,

seeing her plantation safe in a botanist’s hands.

Her fig trees, lace-like lavender, are in my care.

Her twittering hands welcomed strangers to her home

as careful custodians of her family’s past.


Jean is a member of poetry study group ‘Poets in Progress’ based in Ruardean, Glos. UK. Her work has appeared in anthologies ‘Survival’ (Hammond House), Dean Writers’ ‘Resilience’ and ‘Ways to Peace’. She won the 2020 international Hammond House Poetry competition, and co-judged their 2021 and 2022 competitions.

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