Choices

Choices

A Poem by Chris Shaw

that glow of a log fire from
an Edwardian hearth is so
warming on cold winter evenings
when fingers of flickering flame
lick and dance in their blue
and red attire

half way up the chimney

which transports me in time
to great grandfather James a
chimney sweep with a successful
business until he chose to squander
his profits on drink
sadly losing his family home

that’s when life turned sour

that’s when his luck fell in the mire
when his wife and youngest left
him drowning in his beer glass
of false happiness which led Eva
his daughter to recall without
flinching an inch how he died
alone in shame

on a park bench on a night
when the enclosed duck pond
had completely iced over
when little hearts unaware
slept soundly in their beds

© 2023 Chris Shaw


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Featured Review

dear Chris... I see a silver lining in your story... it was a blessing for your Nan to be an integral part of your family. It is difficult to "fix" your Father's problems. Unfortunately, many people have become alcoholics. I feel that your Nan found solace to Care for your family. Today we watched an old Movie about a Pschiatrist whose Home was invaded by an escaped Prisoner quite by necessity. The Doctor took the opportunity to interpret the Prisoner's constant Dream that took over his Life. He succeeded in changing the Prisoner's direction. In the end of the Movie the Prison Cops took the Man back to Prison, but the Prison continued to rehabilitate him from the "results of his Father's Abuse. The Movie was made in the Forties... when the Prisons discovered Rehabilitation... unlike our President in present time who simply puts them back on the Street. These are my thoughts. gently, Pat

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Chris Shaw

1 Year Ago

Dear Pat thank you for sharing your thoughts. My nan was indeed a rich blessing to all of us. She su.. read more



Reviews

the arc of this tale is incredible Chris. I can certainly relate to it. The demon drink has played a role in my family's history as well, not to the sad extent of your poem, but the scars were, are as painful. I have watched my mother and uncle struggle through the yrs with the aftermath of my grandfather's predilection and the sides they chose to come down on. Now in their 80s they haven't spoken to each other in over a decade. As your so perfectly pitched..when life turned sour.
like you said to perdition...family history is full of poetic moments to mine

have yourself a great day dear

ken

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Chris Shaw

1 Year Ago

Thank you Ken. The demon drink has certainly played a part in my family history, but then I think th.. read more
dear Chris... I see a silver lining in your story... it was a blessing for your Nan to be an integral part of your family. It is difficult to "fix" your Father's problems. Unfortunately, many people have become alcoholics. I feel that your Nan found solace to Care for your family. Today we watched an old Movie about a Pschiatrist whose Home was invaded by an escaped Prisoner quite by necessity. The Doctor took the opportunity to interpret the Prisoner's constant Dream that took over his Life. He succeeded in changing the Prisoner's direction. In the end of the Movie the Prison Cops took the Man back to Prison, but the Prison continued to rehabilitate him from the "results of his Father's Abuse. The Movie was made in the Forties... when the Prisons discovered Rehabilitation... unlike our President in present time who simply puts them back on the Street. These are my thoughts. gently, Pat

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Chris Shaw

1 Year Ago

Dear Pat thank you for sharing your thoughts. My nan was indeed a rich blessing to all of us. She su.. read more
I have so often wondered what was so relieving at the bottom of the glass, bottle, or needle. I've never had the urgency to find myself there...but I do wonder if the dead would say it was worth it... I'm reminded here that we never really know what others are feeling...maybe I'll take more time to ask. Thank you for this read.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Chris Shaw

1 Year Ago

What a lovely surprise to find you here after such a long time. Thank you so much for stopping by Gy.. read more
Good early morning dear Chris. The alcohol take from us. I know many who drank themselves to a early death. Including my father. A sad story in the poetry dear friend. Thank you for sharing your amazing poetry and your thoughts.
Coyote

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Chris Shaw

1 Year Ago

Sadly it is all too common, throughout the decades. Such a waste and a bucket load of sadness left i.. read more
Coyote Poetry

1 Year Ago

Good evening dear Chris and you are welcome.
"Edwardian" caught my eye...left with Haley's comet as I recall because of my grandmother's life as well. Wow, such a wonderfully sad sharing as we all have our family mysteries and such, but this felt so heavy on the frame. So personal and so very real. Couldn't help but remember a time when I was fascinated by the idea of chimney sweeps. My grandfather had a similar life and fate so I definitely related to the tale. Loved the ending and the beginning as it made both home and a sad bench seem just a wee bit warmer.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Chris Shaw

1 Year Ago

I’m pleased in a way you can relate even though your grandfather had a similar fate. Family histor.. read more
We are none of us immune from misfortune. For years I gave small gifts to those who were clearly sleeping on the streets - and then in April 2022, my wife put me out, and it was the Bristol Night Buses for me or the proverbial 'park bench'. Fortunately my own network has saved me for the moment, with a lot of help from NHS and Bristol City Council. Lying in bed and hearing the January rainstorms on my window in the Shared House, I reflect that Britain is a great Country, because I am sure there are many places in the World which do not have this safety-net. Excellent Work again Chris ✨️✨️✨️✨️✨️

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Chris Shaw

1 Year Ago

Thank you Tony. No safety nets back in the day. So pleased there was a safety net for you. I would l.. read more
red93

1 Year Ago

Many thanks Chris. I was chatting on the mobile to one of my ex -Royal Mail Pals the other day, and .. read more
Chris Shaw

1 Year Ago

:) ………………..
There's a very appropriately despondent tone in this piece for the subject matter. I love how the flames of the fireplace are described as warm, but then go into the tragic situation of which they remind you. The juxtaposition mirrors reality, and effectively adds a profound impact to the poem. I love how the first lines of each stanza, including the lines in between, are a summarization of the poem itself - which makes it even more powerful. This also read very smoothly, which brought me right into the story. Thank you for sharing.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Chris Shaw

1 Year Ago

I really appreciate this very thoughtful review on a first visit to my work. Thank you so very much .. read more
The juice has derailed many a life, and this ancestor seems like a classic case. It is odd how some show great ability that leads to success, but then succumb to drink. In this instance, the man apparently froze to death while in a drunken sleep on a park bench. It would be interesting if your research led to an understanding of his emotional life.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Chris Shaw

1 Year Ago

Thank you John. A very sad ending to a life that had been very promising at one stage. No safety net.. read more
Very well written Chris as per norm. A sad story for in todays world you can get help which would possibly prevented this but men did not disclose their troubles back then, it wasn’t manly and yet they were able to self destruct causing pain to everyone. Very sad indeed. Great writing Chris. Not good to be a chimney sweep with soot in the lungs in the old days.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Chris Shaw

1 Year Ago

Yes, life was tough. No benefit system in those days. My Nan spoke very coldly of her father. She co.. read more
Somewhere in the flames and the smoke emanating from the log fire that story from a the long gone past still lives. The way you wrote the poem made the characters form and rise from the flickering, dancing flames. The past with all its agony and joys seems so fascinating, the readers wants to touch it and be in it. He died sadly alone with his heart iced into a ball and as frozen as the duck pond. If only he had caught himself in time. As always, you capture my imagination totally with your pen.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Chris Shaw

1 Year Ago

Thank you DIVYA for your lovely review. My mind drifted as I sat by the fire thinking of my chimney .. read more
DIVYA

1 Year Ago

You too dear Chris.
Have a great one. ❤

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12 Reviews
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Added on January 17, 2023
Last Updated on January 19, 2023

Author

Chris Shaw
Chris Shaw

Berkshire, United Kingdom



About
Albert, my paternal grandfather introduced me to Tennyson when I was nine. I have loved poetry ever since but did not attempt writing a single piece until I was 40. It's never too late to try somethin.. more..

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