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

Thursday, 27 July 2017



(for Cilla)

Was it with words or a kiss
we tossed it away,
that part inside us both
that's gone for good?

Or did they rob us?

You know where I am of course:
I'm apart from you.
But what is it you see
when our eyes do meet?

What do they reflect?

I have a present for you,
there's not much left,
call it "love" if you will;
it's just a word.

But it might be enough.

9 October 1994

Poems #748, #749 and #751 and unique in my oeuvre in that they were written to order. This is not something I usually do and for good reason but there was a guy where I was living at the time—I use the term “living” loosely—who learned I wrote poetry and asked me if I’d rattle off one for his girlfriend, Cilla, a woman I’d never met, would never meet and know the barest details about. He, like me, was far from home and by choice although I never asked for the gory details. That’s the thing about bedsits and dosshouses and the like: everyone’s got a story and mostly they’re stories they don’t want to tell you and you don’t want to hear. In the end I wound up producing three poems in a very short time and let him pick. Maybe he sent her all three; I don’t know. I don’t remember anything about him to be honest, not even his name or what he looked like but clearly he didn’t have much going for him. It was easy to put myself in his shoes. 

It’s an okay poem but far from being a masterpiece. I’m sure it served its purpose.


Ken Armstrong said...

I read these three poems before I read the story behind them. I was kind-of going, "who's this now?" :)

This is like you as Cyrano, hiding in the bush, professing some else's feelings or perhaps really some of your own.

It's a rather interesting idea.

Jim Murdoch said...

The thing about Cyrano, Ken, is that he was actually in love with Roxane. I’d never met Cilla. I don’t think the guy even showed me a photo of her although as I write this now I’m not sure; it was all so long ago. But, yes, you’re right, I drew on my own past and experiences; it’s all we can do. The thing is I never do this though, write poems for other people. I’ve been asked a few times but explained that wasn’t how it worked. Why this time was different I’ve no idea. Probably because I had so much to draw from. I really was in a terrible emotional turmoil at this time. Maybe he just caught me on a good day.

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