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THE DAYS GO BY by Barry Tebb
for Daniel Weissbort

Some poems meant only for my eyes

About a grief I can’t let go

But I want to, want to throw

It away like an old worn-out cloak

Or screw up like a ball of over-written

Trash and toss into the corner bin.

I said it must come up or out

I don't know which but either way

Will do, I know I can't write in the vein

Of ‘Bridge’ this time, it takes an optimistic view,

Bright day stuff, sunlight on

Roundhay Park's Childrens’ Day

Or just wandering round the streets

With Margaret, occasionally stopping

To whisper or to kiss.

Now over sixty I wonder

How and where to go from here

Daniel your rolled out verse

Unending Kaddish gave me hints

But what can you or anyone say

About our son, the other one, who from

Such a bright childhood came to such

A death-in-life?

Dreamless sleep is better than the consciousness

Of bitter days; I sit in silent prayer and read

Of Job, the Prodigal, the Sermon on the Mount.

I read and think and sigh aloud to my silent,

Silent self. I write him letters long or short

About the weather or a book I've read and hope

His studies are kept up. I can’t say ‘How much

Do you drink? Is it more or less or just the same?’

Its your own life

But then its partly one we shared for years

From birth along a road I thought we went

Along as one. Some years ago I sensed a change,

An invisible glass wall between us, between

It seemed you and everyone, the way friends

Hurried past, patting your shoulder in passing,

A joke in the pub, the Leeds boy who'd made good

Then threw it all away for drink.

Your boxed-up books, texts in five languages

Or six, the well-thumbed classics worn cassettes

Of Bach, Tippett’s ‘Knot Garden’, invitation

Cards, the total waste, my own and your’s and her’s.

Love does not seem an answer

That you want to know,

The hours, the years of waiting

Gather loss on loss until

My hopes are brief as days

That rush and go like speeding trains

That never stop. You drink, I pay,

You ramble through an odd text-book

And go and eat and drink and talk

And lose your way, then phone

‘To set things straight’ but nothing’s

Ever straight with you, the binges

Start and stop, a local train that

Locals know will never go beyond

The halt where only you get off.
View Barry Tebb:  Poems | Biography | Books

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