I like to walk in these hills.
I enjoy the sense of isolation,
as if I really could be
the only person
for miles around.
The landscape is rugged here,
tufts of thin grass clumped around
rocks, stones, boulders.
Red flowers bloom in stark contrast
to the browns and muted greens of
the other alpine plants.
Should they make me less lonely?
These flowers, these symbols
of life, and continuity?
Should they make me rejoice
in the beauty of life,
and of nature?
I held you for a brief moment.
You were limp in my hands,
your arms and legs splayed wide
like a living rag-doll.
Tiny gasps of air.
The labour had taken days,
my wife was exhausted,
and I couldn’t stay awake for long.
And when my eyes opened once more
you were gone.
I look from the blooms to the town below,
curls of smoke rising skyward from chimneys,
warm golden light
shining from windows, my heart
across gardens now turning deep blue,
the fading light of day.
I was so moved when I read Scott’s poem, and spent some extra time writing my feedback to him, basically because I couldn’t help myself. There’s a weight that comes when responding to very personal poems – those of love and grief, or most often both. How do I tell someone to cut lines about their loss because they’re too clunky or abstract? I didn’t have to do much of that with ‘Mason’ and reading it out loud to a friend last night, it still affects me. It makes me sad and thankful, and it also makes think, this is why I teach creative writing.
This is what Scott sent me for his bio: Scott has a wonderful wife and three amazing daughters. He also had a son briefly, and this event served as the inspiration for his poem ‘Mason’. Even though this was a traumatic time, he learned a lot about love and family. If you, or someone you love, ever have to face similar adversity in your life, please reach out for help as soon as you can. The pain is real and you don’t have to suffer by yourself. No one is alone in dark times like these, even though it certainly feels like you might be.