Lost August

Lost August

A Poem by David Lewis Paget

‘Oh, it’s not that I want to be awkward,’

She began, as he stifled a sigh,
‘Though I don’t understand your intentions,
And I’m not even going to try…’
‘I will bow to your final decision,’ he said,
In this, as in all we have done,
Only, please try to show me some kindness
As the man you once loved for your own.’
 
She looked from the living room window
Her arms tightly crossed at the breast,
Her back was so sternly toward him
That he feared for the worst, (and the best),
‘There once was a time,’ then she halted,
Some things were left better unsaid,
Then she sighed, ‘Well, it’s just for one Christmas...
Then she snarled, ‘But I wish you were dead.’
 
And he smiled, as she turned back to face him
In that wistful expression of old,
Where his mouth turned the corners up lightly
But his eyes cried their hurt in the cold.
‘Yes, it’s only for Christmas I’m asking
With our children again at the last,
I’ll be gone with the wind in the morning,
Just a memory drift in your past.’
 
Then he felt that he should have said something
So he muttered: ‘I’m sorry… and that’,
And he turned down his gaze to the carpet,
And he felt for his old, beaten hat.
‘Don’t go... would you care for a coffee...’
She haltingly started to say,
As he fumbled his hat in confusion
To nod his familiar way.
 
‘If you’d rather I went,’ he said quickly,
‘I know this is painful for you....’
‘Don't be soft,’ said his wife from the kitchen,
‘It’s long since I felt owt for you...’
‘If you’d only been more of a husband,
Or more of a father to them...’
‘Yes, I know,’ and he painfully nodded,
And stared at the carpet again.
 
‘Well, you’ll sleep on the floor, in the study,
And I don't want you wandering round,
I’ve a man, as you know, that I sleep with,
And I won’t have him feeling put down.’
Then the hurt of his glance must have touched her,
‘Well, I’m sorry, but that’s how it is,
Either sleep in the study…’ he nodded,
And accepted with grace his defeat.
 
‘As a matter of interest’, she started,
As she carried the tray through the door,
‘Where on earth did you go... back in August
(He just smiled at some point on the floor).
‘Was it some fancy woman you wanted
While I spent the nights sitting alone,
Spent the days in a panic, and staring
In the hopes that you’d write, or you’d phone?’
 
‘I’m sorry,’ he muttered, ‘I’m sorry,
I know it was terribly wrong...
As he sat huddled up in the corner,
(And he’d once been so straight and so strong),
So strong and so young and romantic,
So faithful as well... she appeared
Once again in the line of his vision
With the slightest veiled hint of a sneer.
 
‘I’ll be off then, I’ll see you on Sunday,’
Then he rushed through the door and was gone
And the tears welled again at her eyelids
As she felt so adrift and alone.
‘What is done has been done and forgotten,
I’m soft for the beggar, I know.’
Then the children rushed in at the doorway...
‘Was that Daddy we saw up the road?’
 
On the night before Christmas, a shadow
Slid wearily up to the door,
And the head was both bowed and defeated,
And the coat was both ragged and torn,
But she hid the distaste as she took it
And noticed how aged he’d become,
As he went to the study in silence,
And she went to her bed with her man.
 
He emerged at the break of the dawning
Midst the cries of delight at the tree,
And he basked in their love and attention
As he balanced them both on his knee.
But his wife was a trifle distracted
For her man wouldn't come, at the last,
‘I’ll be gone with the wind...’ he repeated,
‘Just a memory drift in your past.’
 
And he’d gone as he’d promised, when morning
Saw all the festivities done,
With the love and regrets of his children
And a last, loving kiss for his son...
‘Yes it’s only for Christmas I’m asking
With our children again at the last,’
He was gone with the wind in the morning,
Just a memory drift in her past.
 
But the New Year was carelessly breaking
And the memories slipping away
When the police brought the news in the morning
That he’d died on the previous day.
‘Do you mean that he’d kept it a secret,
I’ll be damned,’ said the Sergeant again,
‘He knew he was riddled with cancer,
What a man, what a man among men!’
 
So she cried… but it wasn’t in anger,
Just the soft, helpless cry of defeat...
Did he think it would be any better,
Did he think he could temper her grief?
‘As a matter of interest,’ she’d started
As she’d carried the tray through the door,
‘Where on earth did you go back in August...
He’d just smiled at a point on the floor.
 
Now whenever she passes her lover
They both turn their faces away,
He went back to his job in munitions
And his wife, it was better that way...
If he’d only been more of a husband,
Or more of a father, she’d said,
And she’d sighed, ‘Well it’s just for one Christmas...’
And she’d snarled, ‘But I wish you were dead!’
 
And he’d smiled as she’d turned back to face him
In that wistful expression of old,
Where his mouth turned the corners up lightly
But his eyes cried their hurt in the cold.
‘Yes, it’s only for Christmas I’m asking
With our children again, at the last,
I’ll be gone with the wind in the morning,
Just a memory drift in your past.’
 
David Lewis Paget

© 2012 David Lewis Paget


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Featured Review

I have a lump in my throat the size of an apple. I was rivited from start to finish..........and of course
knowing he had died, been ill, and stayed away made it so heart breaking.
What I love about your work is the emotion and flow, you are so easy to get into and read...........
and with it there is deep thought and beauty...............This was so sad, so descriptive that I will
remember it for a long time to come...........beautiful.

Posted 14 Years Ago


4 of 4 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

The emotions sream off of this piece, I could not take my eyes off of it.
Unbelievable.
This piece hit me hard at the heart and soul
Nice work
thank you for entering my contest

Posted 14 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This poem was forwarded to me, and I must say that this hit me hard. There's so much pain, love, loss and regret here. We all have these things that we put away for the sake of being able to continue living in this life; but alas, these things wear on us in ways that sometimes are the weight of death.

You truly captured in this poem the essence of human emotion. Great, great write, and thank you for bringing this to the light.

Keep scribing!

Peoples g. Riot

Posted 14 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is so moving. You have brought to life the emotions with your words and opened them to us all. I found I was holding my breath as the end twisted.

Posted 14 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Ohhh! Wow. This is simply breathtaking and brilliant. What a wish for someone dead.

Posted 14 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Oh wow.
I am litterallly crying right now.
This poem is filled with such deep emotion, and I love it.
It's moving.
Four thumbs up!

Posted 14 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

A sad poem, which leaves the reader with tears in their eyes, flowing smoothy from start to finish. Know, what its like to talk to a love one, the day before they past away from your life. Unlike the wife in the poem, i got to say a final good-bye to my dad. Thank you for sharing this very touching and emotional poem with us. If i can write as half as poetic as this poem, i will consider it a huge achievement.

Therisa

Posted 14 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Thank you everyone for your kind comments. If I answered everyone individually I'd wear out the tips of my fingers - but I do appreciate your remarks, and in fact you can probably pat yourselves on the back for saving this particular poem from being suppressed. It was written at a time (1971) when rhyme and meter was considered old hat, and any form of sentimentality was sneered at. Consequently I had thought of leaving it out of my collected works. A similar poem is 'Brother Love', also on this site. I would appreciate anyone taking a look at my latest offering - 'The Angel of Mons' - which was written and published here yesterday.
Thank you again.
DLP

Posted 14 Years Ago


This is incredible. I'm speechless after reading this eloquently crafted story. Your rhyme and rhythm are flawless and the story is heartwrenching.

Posted 14 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Oh, this is too beautiful. A ballad worthy of a long life.

Posted 14 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wow, what an awesome piece. Very touching and deeply moving. It really touched me because I have a friend who was like a brother that passed recently and he told noone he had cancer, just gone. Looking back you can see when they give hidden messages and feelings left in the memories for you to carry of them.
Great write.
Kelly

Posted 14 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on February 21, 2008
Last Updated on June 26, 2012

Author

David Lewis Paget
David Lewis Paget

Moonta, South Australia, Australia



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