Before You Go
Before you go, if go you might
Then take with you the dog lead there
For I have need no more to share
Those Autumn walks, when wrapped in mist
You took my frozen fingers once and kissed
And warmed them with your breath; and far
Above us in the darkening sky, a vapour trail; a star.
And below, us three; you, the dog and me
Inseparable, as it had seemed to be.
So take Autumn, star, take mist and sky
And vapour trails and I’ll try
To live without them, in full or part
My fingers frozen then… but now, my heart.
I think you’ll go... I think you might.
Before you go, and go you could
Take from my mind’s eye, lest I reminisce,
The sight of starlings and their dissonance;
Mahonia’s indigo dusted berries in bunches hung
And from them drops of purple juice had sprung;
Berries in massive bunches weighted down.
You voiced one word. I saw you frown,
Concerned… For mid the tumult and the squabbling
The starlings, greedy beaks all gobbling
A tiny wren set up her home in one lone bough
Protected by the sharp and cruel foliage now.
Take from my mind hot morning sunlight on York stone.
Let me forget your love, your gentle look, your tone.
Perhaps you’ll go. I think you could.
Before you go, if go you could,
Remove the door bell from my door;
The door; the step; that I no more
May see it empty, where once you stood.
Close down all worldly contact; close down for good
And hush the jangling of my phone
And still the Soprano’s plangent tone
In Verdi’s final Libera Me,
For you and I had wept one day
At its poignant charm. Close my ears that I
Should hear no more a sound, and try
To still the songs of birds; of rain;
For I’ll not hear your sweet voice again.
Before you go, do this for me.
Before you go, and go you shall,
Please take my bed from out my room.
First turn down the covers, then with broom,
Sweep out all memories that I recall
Of sunlight dappled on the wall.
And curtains moving in the breeze
With silhouetted horse chestnut trees.
Take how it was to wake beside
You, gently sleeping by my side.
Remove the sunlight, and the room,
Curtains; dappled light; replace with gloom.
Remove each; not some, but all.
I’ll turn my face towards the wall
Before you go, I know you shall.
Before you go, if go you must
Take one last look, and mark this well
A room, a slip of paradise, now hell;
Two coffee cups, a slice of toast;
And this the image that pains me most
You, gently breathing by my side.
And close my eyes and feel beside
The pillows where you laid your head.
Replace with stones or boards instead
For I have neither rest nor ease
And in my pain, blot out all these
For I have nothing but my love;
This emptiness is all I have.
Before you go, if go you must.
Before you go, and go you will
Remove my heart from out my chest
It beats for none else, so let it rest.
If not for you, then bid it sleep.
My eyes are useless but to weep,
Where once their primary delight
Was drinking in the lovely sight
Of you. So take my eyes, my breath, my ears,
My mouth, my memory, my fears;
My aspirations and delights
Box them; with ribbon; tie them tight.
Then when I am distracted, and to spare me pain
Discard them then for I’ve no need of them again.
Before you go… I think you have.