Only the Absence

Only the Absence

A Poem by Rosalie Kempthorne

A poem about loss


These are the memories:

The sand on fire,

The sky on fire,

The tiny torch of actual fire,

Encircled by stones.

Toasting marshmallows.

Her with her feet bare, and her cardigan around her shoulders,

Dancing under multiple fires.


Running up to the beach house,

Clattering on the steps,

Always something to eat up there,

The roof to sit on in the middle of the night and count the stars,

While the plums blossomed,

And a distance of cars came and went off to the north.

Dreams were free,

Back in those days.


The beach house is old and rotting,

Time has had her way with it,

Time and neglect, and shifting, human feelings.

Her roof all bloodied in the rust;

While her boards are chapped by the sun,

Part green, part bare and weathered.

And her door hasn’t opened in so many years.


The sand is scarred with her footprints.

Running along, whooping, calling out to be joined.

Forever young.

My own face parched and impaired,

A head full of grey,

Eyes full of old, full of regrets and misgivings.

The beach has turned windswept and wild.

Where has the golden sand gone?

The golden sunset?

Where is her voice in the wind?

There is only the beach, unmarked and empty.

There is only the absence.

© 2018 Rosalie Kempthorne

My Review

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Incredible. You had me in the first few lines. I love using fire as an image in my poetry so it drew me right in. And it only got better from there. This is beautiful.

Posted 1 Year Ago

You grew the "story" well and brought us along for the ride.

Posted 1 Year Ago

i'm touching very beautiful thanks for sharing

Posted 1 Year Ago

this one's cool, I feel like the rotting of the cabin and stuff is more of a medaphor.

Posted 1 Year Ago

a vivid beautifully haunting scene...makes me want to take my shoes off..sink my toes in the sand, remembering a life...even if it wasn't ever mine.

Posted 1 Year Ago

Holy moly, this just beautiful. I really loved this poem. The imagery is outstanding. I can only dream of such places and this poem allows me too.

Posted 1 Year Ago

This is so romantically sad.
You set a very vivid scene on the beach.
Great write!
Thanks for sharing.
Resa :)

Posted 2 Years Ago

Very well-penned!!!
The memories are nicely described.
Well done!!!

Posted 2 Years Ago

wow, a lovely and beautiful poem.

Posted 2 Years Ago

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9 Reviews
Added on July 29, 2018
Last Updated on July 29, 2018
Tags: sisters, loss, death, holidays


Rosalie Kempthorne
Rosalie Kempthorne

New Zealand

I am a writer of a variety of genres, novels, short stories and some poetry. I joined WritersCafe in the hopes of sharing my work with a wider audience. I also have stories on ABC Tales, Every Day F.. more..