Simmering Past


Most of the time it sleeps,
the measured snoring of an old dog
content in a warm bed
of lessons we have learned.

So when we meet today we
tiptoe and whisper.
I tell you how poetry
leaped out of the blue,
led to writing a book.
You tell me how you built a sunken garden
at the back of the house,
surprised by your own success.
We swap photos of grandchildren

Then there is a pause – a long one.

We decorate the silence with laughter
at words on the menu like
‘chai latte’ and ‘flat white’
and how it seems these days
you need a steam engine to
make a cup of coffee.

Memories begin to surface;
they grapple in search of sunlight
and there is movement,
something stirring, restless.
I hear a deep, laboured sigh
then a troubled groan;
I think you hear it too.
The whole building shivers.


55 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bennison Books
    Jan 31, 2015 @ 18:30:37

    One for your next volume, I think! Love this. πŸ™‚


  2. Cynthia Jobin
    Jan 31, 2015 @ 18:33:29

    This is simply wonderful, Christine. The delicate, apt imagery and plain truth of it make the ordinary extraordinary, and speak of what I have come to know about you—-that you are a person of sharp insight and you have a poet’s heart. The whole building shivers, indeed.


  3. Minuscule Moments
    Jan 31, 2015 @ 21:47:35

    Christine you are a master wordsmith. Intricately woven in your art is a message, yet we may all take away something different. But what I know is you have an amazing ability to see everything with open eyes and a courageous heart, to face whatever may come your way. I wish you a happy day my friend.


  4. Polly
    Jan 31, 2015 @ 23:59:17

    Wonderful imagery, Christine, ‘we decorate the silence’ – ace πŸ™‚

    When will we see that villanelle you’ve been promising? No…I haven’t forgotten! πŸ˜‰


    • journeyintopoetry
      Feb 01, 2015 @ 11:28:17

      Haha! Thank you Polly! Right! The villanelle will appear here but I cant make up my mind when. The publisher of my book Dancing in the Rain has seen it and has decided she would like to squeeze it into the book. So I may wait and share it once the book is out. Or I may post it next time!! πŸ˜„ x


  5. lscotthoughts
    Feb 01, 2015 @ 01:08:13

    Chris, this is evocative and profound, taking me into the past, as well, to remember…beautifully expressed and I love, especially, the fourth stanza beginning with “we decorate the silence with laughter” and couldn’t help but smile because currently chai lattes are my favorite. πŸ™‚
    Just “decorating the silence” is an amazing beginning to an awaited visual or feeling…
    Happy weekend and many hugs to you! β™₯


    • journeyintopoetry
      Feb 01, 2015 @ 11:35:11

      Thank you Lauren! I often think that in cafes these days we can’t hear each other speak for the steam engines! My daughter loves chai lattes too; . I’ve never tried one! 😊❀️ and hugs too! xxx


  6. leamuse
    Feb 01, 2015 @ 09:39:14

    Christine, in this world such an encounter is precious indeed. You pull back the curtain and allow us to peer through sharing this lovely moment. Beautiful! πŸ™‚ xxx


  7. Angela Hickman
    Feb 01, 2015 @ 15:29:10

    Oh Christine, this poem is wonderful β€”it is so evocative, so beautifully accepting of shifts in life, yet in a trembling, ‘dare I’ kind of way. You make such great use of the space…the gaps and pauses. Bravo, my friend! πŸ™‚ xxx


  8. Jennifer's Journal
    Feb 01, 2015 @ 15:38:17

    So lovely. Christine, your talent humbles me, and I fear I will never attain what seems to come so naturally to you. Perhaps if I owned your book and read it every day, I might learn how to be a true poet.

    Jennifer xo


    • journeyintopoetry
      Feb 01, 2015 @ 16:10:11

      Wow Jennifer, this is a huge compliment, thank you. I still see myself very much a beginner in the poetry world. But I am thoroughly enjoying the process, learning more as I go along by reading good poetry by people who are what I consider excellent poets. My book Dancing in the Rain is imminent now. I will put a post on my blog when it becomes available on Amazon. Thank you again for your support and encouragement.


    • journeyintopoetry
      Feb 01, 2015 @ 17:04:49

      Thank you Jennifer 😊


  9. Laurel's Reflections
    Feb 01, 2015 @ 15:43:59

    So gentle, subtle, evocative, and powerful.


  10. Libby
    Feb 01, 2015 @ 20:21:50

    Wonderful Christine – one to really read over and over again.


  11. SuzyHazelwood
    Feb 02, 2015 @ 14:41:32

    I absolutely love this Christine, so aptly conveyed!!β™₯ It speaks of the unspoken, and we all have those moments, those thoughts underlying, that although we can be genuinely cheerful at the same time, there is soooo much that we could pour out and indeed make that building shiver (such an excellent way to describe it!).

    Someone said to me recently that on their blog they appear so cheerful, but underneath…. 😦 I know exactly what they mean, and I think pretty much all of us feel like that most of the time. It feels in a way contradictory, possibly a lie – but it isn’t, it’s just the complexities of life. I do believe it is possible to genuinely experience happiness and sadness at the same time, and I do a lot.

    And writing is such a helpful tool at uncovering what is underneath, saying those things we avoid speaking, because in that moment, it might be too much to say. Beautiful and honest writing, and hugs to you Christine for all those shivers! πŸ™‚


    • journeyintopoetry
      Feb 03, 2015 @ 17:49:45

      I think you are right Suzy. It is possible to feel both emotions at the same time. You gave me something to think about here and it’s a definite yes.

      It has taken me years to be able to put this poem on paper, and now the time feels right.😊 xx


  12. kathryningrid
    Feb 02, 2015 @ 17:02:55

    Dearest, I am astonished, humbled, impressed by what powerful leaps you have made as a self-professed tyro in the world of poetry. What you are able to capture and convey in so few words is nothing short of magical here. The profound, thoughtful, poignant silence that permeates this scene behind the masking noise and cheer is exactly the ‘simmering’ that I think deep and memory-filled relationships always have. The behind-the-scenes depths, no matter how potent and even dark they may be, don’t overcome the present sparkle of joy but rather inform it and even, sometimes, intensify it by the frisson of their lingering existence. You capture it so beautifully here. I stand in awe.


  13. bardessdmdenton
    Feb 02, 2015 @ 19:15:51

    Oh, Christine, this is a real treasure. This poem in particular shows such a maturing in your verse … your ever gentle honest spirit is there … but something new, too, in each turn of phrase and depth of feeling. Superb poem on how nostalgia brushes … or even rocks … us sometimes. I’m so happy you have an appreciative audience that is growing. XO ❀


    • journeyintopoetry
      Feb 03, 2015 @ 17:53:18

      Thank you Diane for this wonderful encouraging comment. This poem took weeks to feel ‘right’. And yet sometimes a poem falls out onto the paper almost immediately and you know at once it needs to be left alone. I have learned so much over the almost three years I have been blogging. I hadn’t a clue what I was doing at first. Not sure I do now!! 😊 xxx ❀️


  14. harulawordsthatserve
    Feb 02, 2015 @ 20:17:57

    I had to read this a couple of times, because it ‘got me’ somehow, and i wanted to understand better. I love the apparent simplicity and clarity of the setting, and then that final line…made me shiver. You seem to evoke so much with words that give no hint of trying….that’s so hard to do. This is a wonderful poem, and really touched me, quite unexpectedly. Hugs and blessings, Harula xxx


  15. Peter Wells aka Countingducks
    Feb 04, 2015 @ 16:50:57

    Its often the little details you pick out that make the verse so “living” the steam engine coffee machine is a very modern observation and made me chuckle.


  16. Norma (Through My Eyes)
    Feb 10, 2015 @ 12:34:10

    Love this Christine and I dare say one of your best without being disrespectful to your other poems. You just seem to get better and better. Evocative and profound and I hung on to every word as I read it. Hugs xxx
    PS. Sorry I haven’t been around much lately.


  17. journeyintopoetry
    Feb 10, 2015 @ 13:20:52

    Thank you very much Norma! I do think the writing group is helping me lots to develop my writing. And to hear you say I’m getting better is music to my ears! We have lots of fun at the group too and Friday mornings are the highlight of my week! (Apart from visits from tiny tot grandchildren of course 😊) x


  18. Wendy L. Macdonald
    Feb 10, 2015 @ 23:19:51

    Beautifully poignant, Christine. I suspect that you’re one to dare. To dare to go where others wouldn’t; but you’re always mindful of the limitations of the other person–and wouldn’t push.

    I’d enjoy having coffee or tea with you because I’d feel safe to go to the dangerous places between the lines. You wouldn’t laugh at me. You’d laugh with me.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀


  19. Jane Thorne
    Feb 11, 2015 @ 12:10:08

    You decorate my world with your love, laughter and words and I am grateful. ❀ xXx ❀


  20. Betty Hayes Albright
    Feb 12, 2015 @ 02:55:59

    Christine, you really moved me with this one. The building shivering – what a great metaphor, for those awkward and painful memories returning, that elephant in the room. We can try to “fake it” with pleasantries, small talk, and reminiscing – but the truth comes out – the unhealed hurt/heart. You’ve written this beautifully with a delicate narrative of images. I’m adding this to my favorites. xxoo


    • journeyintopoetry
      Feb 12, 2015 @ 09:37:04

      Thank you very much Betty. Your comments always leave me feeling encouraged and uplifted, as I can still doubt myself. I wish I could attain some balance between self doubt and whatever is at the other end of the spectrum. πŸ˜„ ️xxX


      • journeyintopoetry
        Feb 12, 2015 @ 11:28:46

        Thank you very much for reblogging my post. It’s lovely to meet you. x

      • Betty Hayes Albright
        Feb 12, 2015 @ 19:31:54

        I think that’s what makes us poets – that tension between self doubt and some form of “perfection” – the end of the rainbow. πŸ™‚ At least I share that same feeling, even after all these years.
        Hope you’re having as good a week as possible!

    • journeyintopoetry
      Feb 12, 2015 @ 19:59:43

      I think you’re right Betty! I’m doing ok thanks, still full of cold, just can’t shift it, but a less painful back thank goodness. Hope you arent in too much pain. xx


  21. beckarooney
    Feb 12, 2015 @ 21:37:35

    This is such an impressive poem, one which can’t have been easy to write. Facing the past is sometimes the only way to move on, emoting and then releasing. You painted some wonderful pictures with your words Christine, beautiful πŸ™‚ xx


    • journeyintopoetry
      Feb 13, 2015 @ 09:40:18

      Thank you very much Becky. It has taken years for me to be able to write about this but the time felt right and it’s time to move forward at last. Although there are some things that cannot be totally let go of, it depends how important the contact is now, and whether we can work with what happened in the past and in this instance I think it will be ok.. xx


  22. Rob McShane
    Feb 14, 2015 @ 13:12:10

    I have missed your poetry so much Christine (for some reason not coming to my reader- will unfollow and follow again. Maybe that will sort it). As Cynthia has said, you write of the ordinary and make it extraordinary! An absolute delight to read and resonate with! I enjoy so much in all you write. Images, emotions, words….absolutely beautiful! Thank you πŸ™‚


    • journeyintopoetry
      Feb 14, 2015 @ 13:16:28

      Thank you very much Rob! I have had the same problem recently with WP ‘unfollowing’ me from someone’s blog. and only found out when she emailed me, because I have followed her for years. Anyway it seems to be one of the mysteries of WP and I had to re-follow her.

      Thank you for the lovely comment, I really appreciate it x


  23. Thomas Davis
    Feb 19, 2015 @ 16:03:49

    What a magnificent poem, Christine. The first stanza threw me for a moment, but then I reread it. The subtlety of the language is delightful. I had to get the idea that “it” referred to the shimmering past in the title. “It” always should have a referent. There is a little bit of autobiography here as well as decoration of “the silence with laughter” and “something stirring, restless.” This is wonderful work. I am just amazed by your growth as a poet over time. You are shortly to be published by a publisher I admire very much. What a magnificent journey you’ve made!


    • journeyintopoetry
      Feb 21, 2015 @ 15:21:13

      Thank you very much Tom for your consistent support and encouragement since my very uncertain beginnings. You along with other blogging friends who I consider to be very good poets showed a belief in me at times when I honestly didn’t have any in myself and all that support has enabled me to get this far. I am extremely grateful.


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