Airport arrivals

An elderly couple catches sight of their daughter. There are long, long hugs. Mum hides her tears by straightening her daughter’s collar, Dad does the same by busily wheeling the trolley away. Daughter does not hide her tears, she lets them flow from wide-open eyes, but slows them by smiling tight-lipped at people in the waiting crowd. And the tears seem to be as catching as yawns; I am one of the grown men clearing my throat, my fist to the bridge of my nose. Then, recognising a shared emotion through the tears, we nod and smile at strangers. And then we all move in our own directions.

Regret perhaps

She was pushing the heavy glass door. It was difficult. I wanted to leave the shop as well so I leaned past her and pushed the door too. For me it was light. She held on to the door and it took her. She almost stumbled. She was out of the shop. So was I. She turned and looked at me and smiled.
“You nearly swept me off my feet,” she said.
“I’m sorry,” I said.”I didn’t mean to.”
She smiled a different smile now and walked away.
Later in the morning I saw her sitting on the river bank near where the kingfishers play. I waved but she did not wave back. Perhaps she did not see me.

I wake up early in the morning

I wake up early in the morning and do not understand why you are not here. The bed and the room look strange, perhaps a hotel. I don’t remember checking in. I’ll write you a poem for when you walk through the door. I fold the paper and leave it on your pillow.

I don’t recognise the woman who walks me along to the breakfast room but she seems very friendly. I feel a bit of an idiot that I still don’t remember checking in but breakfast is tasty. They have all my favourites.

Our bed has been made when I get back. I think I left something on it but can’t quite remember what it was. You’ll know, you always do. I’ll ask you when you get back.

As someone once said, a sleep is always welcome. When I wake up, you are not here. I think I’ll write you a poem for when you get back but am interrupted by that nice woman again. She shows me a pile of papers she is holding. What do I think of them? The first one is a poem. It’s rather good, if derivative. I think I may have seen it somewhere before. I look at the others. She has made a mistake! They are all the same! I don’t want to embarrass her so I say I like the first one but am not so sure about the others. She smiles. She’s very pleasant.

I can only get one channel on the TV but that’s ok – I haven’t seen the programme they’re showing. It’s a bit amateurish, some sort of reality thing, but I like the look of the young woman. Lovely smile. I’ll tell you about it when you get back. I’m not sure why, but I’m exhausted. It’s night time already. I’ll write you a poem in the morning.

I wake up early in the morning and do not understand why you are not here.

Four Words To Live By (I’ve been told)

The serenity of the egret in the rice field as the water buffalo lumber by. The serenity of the buffalo as they wander, slow avalanche slow, across the road. Traffic slows and stops, drivers, riders hypnotised by the swaying flanks and horns.

He rests one foot on the ground, the other on a pedal, and smiles. The ballet of traffic has taken an animal turn. As soon as the buffalo pass, scooters will speed past his swoops and wobbles but the smile will remain with him.

Back from the sea, salt and sand is spa-showered away along with the sweat of the ride. The sound of the frogs fills the room as the mosquito net drifts in the breeze from the charred bamboo fan. Later, as thoughts and feelings fuse together like smoke, he will fall asleep to sensual whispers of rain.

He did not believe in the sublime except for two moments. That saffron moment on a night flight when a monk walked by, bowed head and a gentle smile at the edge of his pool of reading light. Later a nun tied threads round his wrist and the dam holding the tears back crumbled.

Even later he thought back to his experiences. He saw his green reflection in the lotus pond and it was then that his life was decided.