Phoebe and Me

 

As you nestle cosily,
your contented purr
a soothing massage on my lap,
I recall the day I brought you home.

I had driven, over the limit,
to see a friend after her desperate
call for help; we were two of a kind,
lost in a foreign hostile land
of drunken despair.

I found her lying on a bed
surrounded by a swarm of
furry squeaking babies
like confused bees
who had lost their map.

You stumbled over to me at the
edge of the bed, so small and vulnerable,
eyes like tiny fallen stars
as though pleading
but you didn’t know why.
I held you in one cupped hand,
stroked your innocent head with the other
and in a dolorous drunken daze
I fell in love.

Twelve years of contented sobriety later,
I am still in love with you.

My friend died.

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69 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ina
    Oct 19, 2014 @ 11:05:27

    Hi Christine, such a moving story, what a sad start for the kittens, and how fortunate that you could at least adopt one! I hope your friend herself got some help too. ❤ xxx L&H

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Oct 19, 2014 @ 12:14:58

      Thank you Ina. Im surprised I didnt put them all in a bag and take them all home; Ive done sillier things drunk. Unfortunately my rriend died a horrible death about 9 years ago. L&H ❤️ Xx

      Reply

  2. Peter Wells aka Countingducks
    Oct 19, 2014 @ 11:29:53

    Oh such a bitter sweet recollection and so delicately told. Seeing a friend drowning even if you are able to rescue yourself is horrid, but that little kitten will always be glad you paid a visit x

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Oct 19, 2014 @ 12:20:02

      Thank you Peter. My friend was a lovely person and we became good companions for quite a few years, internittently drunk and sober together, but both on the same path of self destruction we didnt want to be on. She suffered a horrible death.

      As for my little Phoebe, although 13 years old, she is still tiny and the most wonderful character and of course, very special.

      Reply

  3. Jane Thorne
    Oct 19, 2014 @ 12:23:45

    Oh Chris, no words…just love. ❤ Please stroke Phoebe for me and the softest hugs for you. xXx ❤

    Reply

  4. mihrank
    Oct 19, 2014 @ 12:28:11

    such a wonderful and moving story:)

    Reply

  5. Cynthia Jobin
    Oct 19, 2014 @ 13:59:06

    Fourteen years ago I rescued my cat Lulu (short for “Hallelujah”) as a kitten, in a sad situation I won’t go into. Like your Phoebe, she is the light of my life and a great, comforting friend. A very sad and tender tale, Christine…but one with a happy ending for both you and the kitty!

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Oct 19, 2014 @ 14:10:17

      Thank you Cynthia. Phoebe is a complete delight and very special. No that my other darling cat isnt very special too because she is; I was still drinking when I acquired her; therein lies another tale! But the circumstances of Phoebe’s entrance into my life suddenly re-emerged a few days ago. Strange how situations we thought we had buried just seem to reappear of their own accord.
      I love that Lulu is short for Hallelujah! 😊

      Reply

      • Cynthia Jobin
        Oct 19, 2014 @ 14:30:24

        This sounds macabre, I know, but you got me thinking…about memory. It’s like a realm of eternal life….nothing stays dead and buried, really, but the simplest thing can resurrect it…….isn’t it almost hallowe’en? 🙂

  6. journeyintopoetryg
    Oct 19, 2014 @ 15:24:05

    Macabre maybe, but your comment raised a smile. See! Even your comnents have a great twist at the end! 🎃🎃 👻

    Reply

  7. lscotthoughts
    Oct 19, 2014 @ 15:24:22

    Oh, what a moving poem, Chris…I’m so glad you and the lost little kitten found a loving life together, but I’m sorry about your friend’s passing…hugs…♥

    Reply

  8. bardessdmdenton
    Oct 19, 2014 @ 19:08:44

    Such a special poem, Christine … emerging from pleasantness and chaos and even sorrow. I love its poetic storytelling … full of reflection and regret but mostly transformation (for both you and Phoebe). There is such lightness and depth to our connecting with the furry friends in our lives … they are so much a part of our journey, perhaps a little like one of those moving walkways in airports … allowing us to stand still as we move forward. Such beautiful writing! This especially, but certainly not exclusively:
    “I held you in one cupped hand,
    stroked your innocent head with the other
    and in a dolorous drunken daze
    I fell in love.”
    So very sorry about your dear friend. Hugs. XO ❤

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Oct 20, 2014 @ 12:56:11

      Thank you Diane. Most cats I have had have greeted me but mostly with the hidden agenda of requiring food. But Phoebe always puts her two front paws up on my chair at breakfast time and sometimes just stays there for quite a few minutes while we engage in ‘conversation’. There is just something about our relationship.

      My friend arrived at a horrific end and her death and its circumstances are a constant reminder to me of where alcohol can take us and could take me if I chose to pick up that one drink. It’s a very frightening thought. ❤️ Xxx

      Reply

  9. Jennifer's Journal
    Oct 19, 2014 @ 20:22:43

    Amazing story. My acquirement of our two cats was more run of the mill: two little sisters among a litter of five from the SPCA. Maisie was chosen by my husband, and Vivian simply decided she wanted me! She cried to go home with us. 🙂

    Reply

  10. Polly
    Oct 20, 2014 @ 04:13:22

    So poignant Christine, I like narrative poems and this is a special write.

    Reply

  11. Minuscule Moments
    Oct 20, 2014 @ 08:18:53

    Christine such a sad life we live when our addictions take hold. No one is immune as my father use to say. He gave up alcohol and cigarettes at the same time. I believe you are one of the strongest people because you got yourself through it. Your friend hopefully found peace.

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Oct 20, 2014 @ 13:00:15

      Thank you very much Kath; I hope she found peace too, but at age 49 she had everyrhing to live for. Her daughter was 18 when her mum died and it is her I feel for now, plus of course her parents who outlived her and watched her destroy herself.

      No-one knows why some peopke ‘wake up’ from and others don’t; Im so grateful I did.

      Reply

      • Minuscule Moments
        Oct 20, 2014 @ 19:37:34

        So am I Christine and yes it is sad when someone won’t fight for their life. I often wonder why my brother could not have fought a little harder to keep his. I had a friend who lost her battle with a tumour she fought so hard to stay and here was my beautiful brother who just ended his. I know how he suffered and I don’t try to think about it too much. I lost my friend and my brother, no death is easy to deal with. Life can be so cruel. When I think of him I still ask the what if’s but not as much as I use too. Have a beautiful amazing day and we can think of the ones we have lost and live a full life for them too.

    • journeyintopoetry
      Oct 21, 2014 @ 13:07:47

      I think we can overthink these things sometimes Kath. But we cant seem to help trying to work it out somehow, even though there are no answers. Im so sorry you lost two beautiful people; it’s a reminder for me to love life and make every minute count, and to keep enjoying bees and your art! 😊 xx

      Reply

      • Minuscule Moments
        Oct 21, 2014 @ 18:57:15

        I agree Christine I have tried to understand the why’s but sometimes its just easier to let it go and live a grateful life. I hope you are having a good day xx

    • journeyintopoetry
      Oct 21, 2014 @ 19:00:51

      😊 xx

      Reply

  12. SuzyHazelwood
    Oct 20, 2014 @ 20:08:29

    You have real mixture of different emotion in this one, my novel head really likes that idea! And as always Christine, you unfolded this moment so well, I could picture that experience quite vividly, and feel it too. Feeling is what makes it alive! What a tragically sad time that must have been for you, and saving a little bundle of sweet furriness must have helped a little I’m sure. Very brave of you to write about that time. It’s odd how some of our worst times in life seem to make the best kind of writing! 🙂

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Oct 21, 2014 @ 13:00:27

      Thank you Suzy. I must have sat with little Phoebe on my knee a million times and never engaged with the thought of the day I brought her home. And then, quite out of the blue last week, there it was as large as life just begging to be written about. Having said this and although that day has never been so vividly recalled before, she is a constant reminder of where I was back then and what alcohol could and probably would have done to me had I not ‘woken up’. xxx

      Reply

  13. kathryningrid
    Oct 20, 2014 @ 20:48:39

    My sweet, it is such a beautiful thing that you and Phoebe had the wisdom and good fortune to help rescue each other. Deep sorrow that your friend could not be rescued, too, and that is the way of such things. All the more amazing that you were able to climb out of your well of darkness and become the bright light that shines among us as you do now. You *are* a great gift, you know. Thank you for sharing your hard-earned wisdom, as well as the glimpses of love and hope that brought you here.

    K

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Oct 21, 2014 @ 13:14:07

      Kathryn, your lovely comment really moved me because you are right, we both rescued each other. Although she remained in the company of the actively alcoholic me for another year before I finally ‘woke up’. But the point is,I did and I thank whatever it is that I did. Maybe I just hot lucky reaching a rock bottom to rise up from. Some say (me includedwhen Im in a certain mood) that I experienced a spiritual awakening. Whatever it was it led me here and Im thankful for that. Xxx

      Reply

  14. leamuse
    Oct 21, 2014 @ 15:58:48

    Oh Christine, you and your lovely Phoebe reaching out to each other are a moving image. Sometimes a nearly silent purr or a soft stroke of fur will trigger darker times. Yet it is often that same purr and fur that will bring us safely back to ourself. Phoebe is fortunate to have found you but I believe she knew what she was doing! Cats are so intuitive. xxx

    Reply

  15. Ali Brown
    Oct 21, 2014 @ 17:38:46

    Another powerful, honest and tender post, Christine – I’m a huge cat-lover, and yes, I also know what it is to have lost loved ones though alcohol – my cats have helped me through many hard times over the years! They are a blessing, like little
    Phoebe! – Sending you hugs, xx

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Oct 22, 2014 @ 12:19:02

      Thanks very much Ali. Im sorry you have lost someone through alcohol; it’s definitely a killer but we dont believe it could happen to us when we are in it’s grips. And like you, my cats, and my lovely dog Jack, have all been with me during hard times; animals are just amazing. xxx

      Reply

  16. Jackie
    Oct 22, 2014 @ 10:59:38

    A beautiful and poignant poem. xx

    Reply

  17. Wendy Macdonald
    Oct 27, 2014 @ 20:48:16

    Christine, you really are a heart-tugging angel-poet. I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend. I imagine you were a special person to her too. So glad you made a forever feline friend during that valley. xo

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Oct 28, 2014 @ 12:12:34

      Thank you very much Wendy. I did continue to help my friend after I became sober and tried for about two years but it wasn’t to be. Some people go too far down and simply cannot recover. We used to have coffee together every day and I visited her in hospital a lot after she had broken several bones falling out of a window. It is very sad and alcoholic deaths are usually horrendous as was hers. im just so grateful I made it through. We have a slogan on the walls of AA meetings – ‘There but for the Grace of God…”. I will never understand why some of us receive that grace and others don’t; maybe its because we open our hearts and become willing to receive it?xx

      Reply

      • Wendy Macdonald
        Oct 28, 2014 @ 22:40:23

        Grace is free. xo I suspect there are many people who’ve tapped into it in the final moments of their life (perhaps even as they were unconscious). I had an aunt die as a direct result of alcoholism. Her son told me she accepted grace in her final hours. ❀ God looks at the heart and sees what we cannot. But, Christine, I also wonder why some believe so easily and others wait until the final hour.

  18. Betty Hayes Albright
    Oct 27, 2014 @ 22:49:09

    Christine, your poem touched me deeply – because of the tragic loss of your friend, and also because of the special connection you have for your kitty. You and she are survivors, and I’m so glad for your strength over these 12 years. My condolences on the loss of your dear friend. My own belief (not everyone’s) is that those we love never really leave us, and perhaps your friend is still with you in spirit – and your cat is an expression of that endless bond all three of you share.

    Sending another hug to you, and hope you’re having some good days!

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Oct 28, 2014 @ 12:19:01

      Thank you very much Betty. I, too, believe there is always a connection and I think of her a lot when Phoebe is purring away on my knee. I try to cocentrate on the good times because there were many. Phoebe was the tiniest of the litter, she didnt look much like she would survive but as you say, we are both survivors. I have just seen her scampering across the garden at great speed chasing leaves, and at 13 years old she can still climb up the curtains!! 😊. I hope you areas well as you can be. Im doing ok thank you, just about over falling now. love and hugs xxx

      Reply

  19. journeyintopoetry
    Oct 29, 2014 @ 09:25:49

    Thank you Wendy. I’m so sorry your aunt had to go through the pain she did. There are so many questions to which we will never know the answers. xx

    Reply

  20. Rob McShane
    Nov 01, 2014 @ 11:20:26

    And you do it again Christine! Such a lovely piece tugging at heart strings and saying so much, so simply and so beautifully – *sigh*….Condolences on your loss physically yet I feel your friend would be very proud of you? Your strength, persistence and huge, open heart! Glad you didn’t pick up the whole bunch – you would be overrun!! 🙂 Just love your writing! Thank you for sharing…

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Nov 03, 2014 @ 11:36:29

      Rob thank you very much for this lovely encouraging comment; it means a lot to me. My friend’s death was very sad indeed, but it gave me yet another nudge telling me what could happen if I picked up another drink. It only takes one to start the process. Im extremely grateful for my sobriety and cherish it.

      Reply

      • Rob McShane
        Nov 03, 2014 @ 12:10:23

        Cherish and maintain! Much respect Christine – even more so with the MS challenge! You really are an excellent example of life, love and thoughts in action! Thank you!

    • journeyintopoetry
      Nov 03, 2014 @ 12:51:50

      Thank you Rob!

      Reply

  21. Thomas Davis
    Nov 05, 2014 @ 21:51:38

    Your poetry is getting more direct and making the leap into meaning that really good poetry manages, Christine. The last line makes this poem, striking in its directness, but contrasting with the warmth of the memory of Phoebe (Ethel’s and my granddaughter’s name), the kitten. The suddenness of the last line makes us think about death and what it means with the kitten and your love of your kitten still alive while your friend is gone. Good work.

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Nov 06, 2014 @ 10:38:39

      Tom, Im always pleased when you visit. Your comment is full of encouragement and I thank you because it is yours and everyone else’s support that helps to keep me writing, especially in moments of selft doubt.

      And there is a touch of synchronicity here too! Your latest poem on which I have yet to comment, mentions the name Fionn which is the name of one of our grandchildren! 😊

      Reply

      • Thomas Davis
        Nov 06, 2014 @ 21:46:14

        Shall there always be synchronicity in the rising dawn of our thoughts and understanding. Have you read any of the old Celtic literature by Fionn, or Taliesin, Christine? I find it fascinating, though sometimes I also have to search hard for the meanings from such a distant time.

    • journeyintopoetry
      Nov 07, 2014 @ 13:56:21

      Hi Tom,
      No I havent read Fionn or Taliesin. I had never heard of them until you told me about them! Now there’s some future reading for me to dig into.

      Reply

  22. beckarooney
    Nov 16, 2014 @ 13:44:50

    This can’t have been an easy memory to share, a painful yet beautifully expressed poem. Virtual hugs to you Christine 🙂 xx

    Reply

  23. SuzyHazelwood
    Jan 01, 2015 @ 21:48:18

    Hello Christine!! I’m still on my official blog break, but just dropping by to ask if I could publish your beautiful poem about Phoebe in a literary magazine I’m creating soon? It will be published on WordPress and free for anyone to view. All credit will go to the original authors and links back to their blog/social media will be given.

    I’ve got a great selection of writers work for the first issue so far, I’m hoping it will be a useful place for readers to find where the good writers are on the internet. It will predominantly be poetry, but will also include some short stories. But if you’d rather not, then please don’t hesitate to say no, I won’t mind.

    Hoping your New Year is a good one! I shall be back blogging in a few weeks 🙂

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Jan 02, 2015 @ 11:46:52

      Hi Suzy and a very Happy New Year to you! I would be thrilled to have my poem included in your magazine! I consider it an honour, thank you very much.

      This poem will be in my new book, which hopefully will be out soon, but the publisher asked me if I would alter it slightly so I did. But I still like this version best as I think there is more feeling expressed in it. If you eventually get a copy of my book it would interest me greatly to know which version you prefer. I have gone along with most of the publisher’s requests to change poems (there are only a few where she has requested this), because I see it as a learning process. I do feel privileged to be having it published and not to have to go down the route of self publishing. I have certainly learned a lot and her suggestions have been very positive and consequently the poems enhanced as a resilt of very slight tweaking. I really do feel that the process I have gone through with the publisher has taken me to a whole new level of understanding and hopefully an improvement in my writing skills. She is a most talented writer and leaves me in awe every time I read her work. So for her to take me on board has been an honour and something beyond my wildest dreams. xx

      Reply

      • SuzyHazelwood
        Jan 02, 2015 @ 16:13:29

        That’s great news Christine, I hope your book does really well, your writing is excellent, so I’m sure it will! 🙂 When it’s published let me know and I could feature it in my sidebar for a few weeks if you’d like me to? I’ve done that for some of my other blog friends – it’s a free advert. I prefer to do things like that instead of blog awards, it makes more logical sense to me.

        Thanks for letting me borrow your writing, I’ve got some really good writers lined up, so I’m hoping it will be a great read. Once it’s published I’ll give you a link so you can see it. You don’t need to follow it by the way (unless you want to) I really want to create something for ‘readers’ to read, not so much bloggers. We are all following a lot of blogs, and there are only so many blogs one person can read – writers need readers, so hopefully over time this will draw the readers into the right places. I’m hoping to mainly promote it through Twitter, that seems to be a good place to find the readers.

        When the first issue is published I’ll give you a link to the post. Good luck with the launch of your book, and may your wildest dreams come true!! 🙂 xx

    • journeyintopoetry
      Jan 02, 2015 @ 18:22:25

      That all sounds very interesting Suzy and exciting too! I look forward to the magazine. And thank you too for suggesting you could promote my book on your sidebar. That’s very good of you. I want it to sell well as possible as all profits will be going to the MS Trust. There is just one formality holding it up and it’s to do with tax. The tax office are doing their usual snails pace service! A d I am learning patience foo 😊 xx

      Reply

  24. SuzyHazelwood
    Jan 09, 2015 @ 01:36:09

    Here’s the promised link to the first issue of ‘The Writing Garden’ http://thewritinggarden.wordpress.com/ thank you so much Christine for letting me publish your wonderful thought provoking poem! Have a good read of your work and just double check it’s survived the copy and paste and there’s no line or word missing. I’m sure it’s fine, but checking something I didn’t write myself is a very different experience!

    Wishing you very good luck with that book Christine, and when the tax office have got themselves together and that book is for sale let me know and I’ll see what I can do on my blog and also on Twitter. Twitter is very good for advertising books! 🙂

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Jan 09, 2015 @ 15:01:18

      And thank you too Suzy for asking yo include my poem; I feel honoured.

      I have just popped over to the magazine’s site and it’s absolutely fabulous! Yes, all copied and pasted perfectly. What a great idea of yours to do this. I will comment on your magazine page too. This is a fantastic project! 😊 xx

      Reply

      • SuzyHazelwood
        Jan 10, 2015 @ 19:05:52

        Thank you for all your kind comments Christine, it means a lot!! Good to hear I got the copy and paste right! It’s been a great success with Facebook and Twitter share and likes – I’m a bit shocked!! And some wonderful submission links being left now, so hoping to keep up the sharing of good writing. I will of course come back to a lot of writers again, but it may be a while as I want to have a good variety of writers throughout the year. But I’ll definitely be back to ask you again!! 🙂 xx

      • journeyintopoetry
        Jan 11, 2015 @ 11:20:48

        I think this could be the start of something big! 😄 And once again thank you for featuring my poem! xxx

  25. Trackback: The Writing Garden ~ Issue One | The Writing Garden

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