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THIS CANDLE

Yesterday was Holocaust Memorial Day. I did not want to let it pass without some kind of acknowledgement from me. So in the early hours of yesterday morning I wrote a new poem. Here it is.

THIS CANDLE

This candle I light because we are without power. I nurse our new born son in the dark. 

This candle I light because it is a birthday. Make a secret wish. Don’t tell a soul or else it won’t come true. 

This candle I light just for fun. And because I like its fragrance.

This candle I light for romance. Candlelight is flattering in the dark. 

This candle I light in a student bedsit and listen to the gravelly voice of Bob Dylan for the very first time.

This candle I light in a village church asking for prayers for someone gravely ill. I’ve never done this before. 

This candle I light is a centre piece at our first born’s wedding feast.

This candle I light at the opera in Verona. A giant amphitheatre lit by a thousand candles glowing in the dark. 

This candle I light to light all the other candles on the eight branched Chanukah menorah that belonged to my mother.

This candle I light to welcome in the Sabbath. We break bread, drink wine and count our blessings.

This candle I light in memory of a loved one on the anniversary of their passing.

This candle I light for the dead souls of Ukraine. May their memory be a blessing.

This candle I light is a symbol of love and peace and hope and grief and remembrance.

This candle I light as a Memorial for the 6 million men, women and children who were murdered in the Holocaust just for being Jewish. This candle I light tonight. 

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

© Photo – StandWithUs

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51 YEARS

Sadly, not my age but the number of years OH (other half) and I have been married. Today is our wedding anniversary.

We met on the day of the Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race in 1969. Ever romantic, we became engaged on Valentine’s Day, 1970 and wed on the 25th April, 1971. A lifetime ago.

Some months before my wedding my mother showed me the headband she had worn when she had married my dad, way back on 15th June, 1936. She had kept it all those years hoping that, in the future, her daughter would wear it on her wedding day.

The headband looked stunning in my mother’s wedding photo. As did she. But now, sadly, it had rusted and could no longer be worn. Instead, my mother contacted her niece, Irene, in Chicago and recounted the story. Irene was going to be coming to my wedding and brought with her the headband her daughter (also called Andrea) had worn for her wedding day. My cousin Andrea (hello Andi!) and I have been in touch through airmail and email since we were thirteen. She is like the sister I never had – albeit nearly 4000 miles away.

Our wedding, true to Jewish tradition, was held under a Chuppah (a wedding canopy) in a London Synagogue. Afterwards, my dad, so happy and excited, rushed to be the first to kiss the bride. And, in so doing, dislodged my headband so it became wonky!

Last week my writers’ group (watfordwriters.org) held a poetry competition. The idea was to write a poem on the theme of The Ornament. After some thought, I came up with the idea of writing about that day when my mother had showed me the headband she had worn at her wedding.

Here is the poem. Do let me know what you think of it in the comment box below.

The bridal headband    

My mum unwrapped
the yellowed tissue paper
Here it is, she said
I kept it for you 
There it was
A band of pearls
and silken flowers
with a hint of gold
She picked it up
Oh so gently
in her careworn hands
and held it out to me
Pearls dropped on to the carpet
one by one
and rolled away.
I kept it for you, she said
For your wedding day
I was crying softly
Mum, it’s broken
I know, she said sadly
But keep it as a token. 

© Andrea Neidle. My Life in Poems

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A POEM FOR MOTHER’S DAY

I first wrote this poem eleven years ago when I heard I was going to be a grandparent for the first time.  News that I would have loved to have been able to share with my mother. Since then there have been many moments when I have thought, mum/dad would have loved this. We don’t need a special day to remember our loved ones. Barely a day goes by when I don’t think of my parents or, for that matter, my in-laws.

Mother’s Day

On the train

No one is reading.

Everyone is on the phone

Sending important messages

Telling friends and family

They are on the train.

In the houses we pass

People are getting up

And starting their day

Planning surprise lunches

Flowers and family celebrations.

It is Mother’s Day

And I think of you

Just as I do on every other day.

I’m on my way

To meet your grandson

My firstborn

Now a married man

I wish you knew.

Outside the sun is shining

It’s the kind of day

That makes everyone smile.

I’m going to be a grandmother

I wish you knew.

I’m on the train

Travelling between

The life I have now

And my life to come.

Everyone else is still on the phone

And I’ve written this.

Happy mother’s day mum.

 © Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

My mother and me
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REMEMBERING MY MOTHER.

My lovely mum, Freda Hetty Finn died 26 years ago today.

She and my father were happily married for almost 60 years.

My mum at 26
Mum in the 1940s.
My mum at 80.
Hoop Lane, London.

Remembrance Haiku

Scattered crocuses

Ashes scattered on the grass

Scattered memories

Freda Hetty Finn

13 December 1910 – 6 March 1996

May her memory be a blessing.

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

THEN AND NOW

“Time it was and what a time it was” is the first line of the Simon and Garfunkel song, Bookends, from way back. This poem is another response from me to the subject of “change”. It was also written very close to St Valentine’s Day and could be considered a love poem for seniors!

TIME WAS

I look in the mirror

And what do I see

Where is the girl

That used to be me?

I see hair that’s grey

Where once it was brown

There are lines on my face

And my lips are turned down.

The waist that once was

Is no longer slim

It has thickened and coursened

Without days at the gym.

The friends that I had

Where have they gone?

They’ve all moved away

And left me alone.

The love of my youth

The passionate lover

We could pass on the street

And not know one another.

But the one that I married

We’re still together

Through good times and bad

Fair and foul weather.

We’ve had ups and downs

Since I was a bride

I’ve faced it all gladly

With him by my side.

So what if my hair

Is no longer brown?

Who cares if my mouth

Sometimes turns down?

The love in his eyes

Tells me everything’s fine

Some things never change

With the passing of time. 

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems