i.m. Julie Betty Rowan
Early autumn the school trunk would re-appear
as if to say summer was over, time for my sister to disappear.
She was the homely one my mother loved too much.
A North Wales boarding school, my father’s mute reproach.
Me – an avid reader of all Blyton’s stories of St. Clare’s –
they kept at home, unaware I longed to go and envied her.
The trunk seemed huge, as deep as sorrow and in it
every vest and sock was named – only love went missing.
I remember most the heavy winter coat she had to wear –
grey as the railway station full of girls, grief in the parting air.
* * * * *
And now she’s gone, the sister I didn’t see
for more than twenty years. O there were letters
now and then and phone calls, but mostly
between us nothing but distance and neglect.
So now I find a deadness in my heart
and numbness where the pain should be.
To friends I say ‘we grew apart,
‘had nothing in common’, though what can compare
with those early years of childhood shared?
About this poem
The Second Wind project was supported by The Baring Foundation.