I am not crying

I am not crying
I have rain in my eyes
And the rain is summer rain
The rain that nature lends

I am not crying
I have rain in my eyes
And the rain is the softest rain
That the autumn season sends

I am not crying
I have rain in my eyes
And the rain is winter rain
The rain that never ends

I am not crying
I have rain in my eyes
I have rain in my eyes


I’m an easy crier, I’m not ashamed –
films, memories, cheap music, you name it.

I thought I would sit,
dignified tears down my cheeks,
but I sobbed like a lost man,
all consuming, muscles and gripping and heart,
because I have felt this – this – before
and know and so dread it’s coming again.


When the shaven-headed nun tied coloured strings around my wrist, I cried.

The strings stayed tied tight for months. Sometimes they tangled with my watchstrap. Sometimes, after rain or a bath, their dampness reminded me they were there.

One day it came to me that it would soon be time to take them off. I could do it any time, any place, but a need for pattern, for meaning, made me decide to wait until April 25th. Why then? Liberation Day in Italy. How is that relevant to strings around my wrist? It is not. But it is a date that is remembered, printed on the calendar in the same colour as one of the strings. The other was the yellow of Mediterranean daisies.

The morning of the 25th, still wet from the shower, I held out my arm and the strings were cut off. If I had had an open fire, I would have burnt them. They would have hissed and curled and disappeared in smoke and ash. But I did not have a fire, though it was cold that Liberation Day, so I dropped them in the bin.

I still think about them, and the sobbing. My arm still feels bare.

The breaking (a beginning)

As T placed the incense stick in the holder, he felt something break inside him. The nun tied the red and gold threads around his wrist and the big man began to cry. Uncontrollably. Deep. Tears ran down his face from his held-open eyes. Someone who spoke words of comfort to him, even in a language he did not understand. 

And then, without his wanting it, the barrier was back. The hurt was hidden and the tears disguised in the jungle sweat.

The moments, the breakings, were coming more often now. 

Someone touched his elbow. He did not move. People pushed past him, looking at the wide-eyed westerner. He felt the wound inside him scarred over and walked on. 

He felt, rather than knew, that the next breaking would be soon.