Histories

Ten? A decade,
what does it mean?
A piece of history, gazed at from
particular points in our contemporary lens,
points we scrutinise, pull this way and that
looking for patterns and narratives
kaleidoscopic mosaics of time and space
which might just make sense,
looking for chances, days, moments,
mili-seconds that changed things forever,
for fate, the wheels that drive us to the strangest destinations
looking for an over-riding route, for pathways
for why the war, why the harvest
why him and not another,
and why then?

And what is this decade, the year 2000
– once our future decked in Star trek suits,
and railways, like Bladerunner, running in the sky
to twenty 10? Now?

A decade which for me
had ten addresses,
one Paradise, and Alessandro,
ten autumns, and so much rain
dropping each year like mist on the last russet leaves
still clinging on in ten Novembers
Oh god, cycling along the river towpath
in the beauty of it, just occasionally
leaping off the ladder
thinking of the child I’d love
then Carolyn died
and the phoenix flew and burned
again, oh the journeys, maps I loved
this globe which spun to Birmingham
and Africa again: Freetown, Accra
to Eileen Road, new city years,
night time smearing golden
into lines of light covering the uglinesses,
seduced by saxophone,
who would have thought
my daughter would be born here?
And that here we are, still writing and rolled up
in a decade with each other, with Tony Blair
and the conflict in Iraq?
And that amidst it all – all our trials and quandaries
a decade in which I witnessed love
pulled from endless wells in births and deaths,
in gestures on the No 50 bus
love which oils our days,
spills over from decades into new decades
and on, despite whatever dice are thrown
into our histories.
© Jo Skelt 2010

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