Another year, another birthday

Think my posting this poem is going to become an annual event!

I can remember in my teens longing to be 21. And now I wish that time could go backwards and I could be 21 again!

Another year, another birthday

Something happens

Between 60 and 70

You become a senior

and all of a sudden

you don’t recognise

that person in the mirror

and on the scales.

You shuffle in your slippers

read the papers

and pop pills.

The receptionist

at the doctor’s

knows your name.

Complete strangers

call you my darling

and my dear.

You want to be offered seats

on trains

And flat shoes seem

a better option

than high heels.

You are now

a silver surfer

so you search for

senior bargains online

There must be some perk

to reaching this age.

Hotels offer you

twin beds

and disabled bathrooms.

11 o’clock at night

seems very late to be out

and you find yourself

wanting to nap

in the middle of the day.

Your children ask how you are

but don’t really want to know

and people say you look well

when they mean

you are looking good for your age.

You have become invisible

to the opposite sex

and to anyone

under forty.

People talk about “special” birthdays

and give you soppy smiles.

You wish you were

growing old disgracefully

but just don’t have the energy.

Come upstairs and make love to me

I read somewhere.

I can do one or the other

was the answer

Don’t expect me to do both.

I’ve started listening to the Archers

and the weather forecasts

Doing crosswords

and reading the obituaries

Seeing the names of

people I once knew

Thank goodness Mick Jagger

can still strut his stuff

and Macca too

still performing

whilst others the same age

languish in care homes

uncared for and forgotten.

It’s odd to think

that in ten years or so

I will look back at this time

And think myself young.

 

Age 20

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems


Remembering my mother

 

Heart Thumpers

 

A faux brass case of old photographs

None of them good

And yet she kept them

A shopping list

Scrawled and barely legible

But in her hand

A birthday card signed “with love”

A button waiting to be sewn on

A compact that was once beautiful

Her glove

Her handkerchief

Her fragrance

“Heart Thumpers”

It says on the little case

Of photographs

Me squinting into the summer sun

How old could I have been?

Our children at play

Her unsmiling passport photo

All found in the drawer beside her bed

Throw them away, my father said

But I kept them all

The little things that made up her life

Keepsakes in a crystal bowl

That once held her make up

I open it reverently once a year

To smell the fragrance

Of that unforgotten past

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems


Remembering

 I wrote this next poem in 1995, about six months before my mother died.

 Role Reversal

Today, I held my mother

sobbing in my arms

Stroking her soft,  fine hair

Her chin nuzzled on my chest

And I could smell

the unforgotten fragrance

of her skin

I held her close

as I have held my children

and felt the frailty of her age

How odd and imperceptibly

the tables turn

And those that you have leaned on

lean on you

Those that you had turned to

turn to you

Now she is the child

And I am the mother

MUM AND DAD BEFORE THEY WERE ENGAGED. LATE 1920S? THEY WERE MARRIED IN 1936.SONY DSCmum

In memory of Freda Hetty Finn.  Born London, December 13 1910. Died 6 March 1996.

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems


In bed with Leonard Cohen


leonard-cohen-photo-2-for-blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

I want to be back

Sitting on someone’s floor

at a party I’ve gate-crashed

Listening to some gorgeous long haired guy

singing Suzanne takes you down

And I want to see again

those photos of Elvis

having his hair cut for the army

elvis-photo-for-blog

And I want to be again

sneaking into my first X film

Hiding cigarettes from my parents

Holding hands with someone I’ve only just met

Dancing obscenely close in some Soho cellar

I want to be kissed again

For the very first time

buddy-holly-photo-for-blog

I want to hear Buddy Holly on a juke box

Sip my first coke in a Wimpy bar

My first rum and coke in a real bar

I want to be hearing Dylan for the first time

The Beatles

Buffy Sainte Marie

The Everly Brothers

Leonard Cohen

dylan-albumbuffy-photo-for-blog

eversley-bros-pic-for-blog

beatles-photo-for-blog

I want to be hugged by my mum and dad

I want to be back

Take me back

But here I am

in bed with Leonard Cohen

And his Book of Longing

Longing to be back.

cohen-book-of-longing-for-blog

this-leonard-cohen-pic-for-blog

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems


Mad Men

Watching Mad Men takes me back.  Yes, advertising was really like that once upon a time. Sexism was rampant.  As was sex.

I remember one agency where all the men seemed to be having affairs. And a number of them were at it with one of the secretaries. On the board room table. (Not all at the same time I might add.)

News of this got to the director of the board who sternly said something would be done. Immediately. And it was. He got rid of the board room table.

Making Hate

After making hate

they lay together

separately

thinking lonely thoughts

After the anti-climax

climax

he said, your body is smooth

and smells of summer

She wondered if

he’d be insulted

if she lit a cigarette

After making hate

their bodies all used up

in an orgasm of

frenzied mutual analysis

he said: my wife is expecting me

And then they made love

Making Hate was published in ARK,  the magazine of the Royal College of Art. Its editor was John Hedgecoe.

They also published this poem at the same time:

Cup Final

Tonight was going to be our night

This room was going to be our room

This bed, our bed

Why did you switch the TV on?

 

© Andrea Neidle. My Life in Poems


Tribute to Leonard Cohen

The man who has touched all of our lives with his songs is dead. I have been a fan of Leonard Cohen for as long as I can remember. I read his novels, I bought his poetry. I remember buying a hardba…

Source: Tribute to Leonard Cohen


Our New England quilt

We recently visited some very dear friends who live in New England.

This poem is for them.

quilt-pic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our New England quilt

We watch the fall leaves drifting down
Hues of red and burnished brown
The leaves are flying everywhere
And soon the trees will all be bare

And all along the silent street

A quilt of colour lies at our feet

And now we have to say goodbye

I find it so hard not to cry

Instead I’ll take our days with you
And stitch them all together
And make a quilt of memories
Moments we will treasure
And when we’re back to our grey skies
I’ll hide my tears and dry my eyes
And think of us together.

collage-for-poem

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems