Living with the Truth Stranger than Fiction This Is Not About What You Think Milligan and Murphy Making Sense

Wednesday, 18 May 2016


The "Thank You" Girl

(for M.)

Yes, I love you
but I will not touch you:
that would make it more real
than we can cope with.

Yes, I love you,
I just don't say it too often
in case the words lose their flavour
and I might want to kiss you.

20 May 1989
M. is B.’s mother. I got the idea for this poem when F. was on holiday with E., the same E. that S. (whom B. was in love with) left to marry a Canadian whose initial I can’t remember. All clear?

I liked M. It was she who phoned me when my mum fell ill and she was the first person I phoned when Mum died. I’ve no idea why F. went on holiday with E. but I was left to my own devices and simply couldn’t stay away from B. Any excuse to make even the most fleeting of contacts was fine but on this particular day—it must’ve been a Saturday because I had my daughter with me—B. was not at home and we ended up spending the afternoon with M. She took us to see her mother as I recall and we talked. We’d had conversations before but we’d never talked. I didn’t know her story and suddenly here was a completely different woman before me. This sounds like it ought to be a poem about her daughter but it’s not.

Almost thirty years later I can’t remember anything of what she told me other than she swore me to secrecy. It was like the time I learned that Elizabeth Gray (see poem #554) had been a concert pianist as a young woman. All I’d ever known was a carnaptious old woman. I’d no idea about who she might’ve been fifty or sixty years earlier. Just the fact she’d been born in the 1890s was enough to make my mind boggle as a kid.


Kass said...

The speaking of those words complicates everything. I can feel the convolution in the poem. Don't know how I missed #554, but I enjoyed it and the explanations.

And I love knowing this new word: carnaptious.

Jim Murdoch said...

I should really have used ‘crabbit’ instead of carnaptious, Kass, but that definitively would’ve required an explanation which you can find here. She was more grumpy than argumentative.

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