Camomile tea

Your cottage always smelled
of wood smoke, turps
and old baked beans.
Washing up was a rare event
and the cabaret was mould.
Your good intensions
grew furzy blooms.
Things in pans developed skins.

You cooked but hardly ate,
lived on the wonky G note
you scratched and bowed
on your battered violin,
sucked fat from the colours
of the same raw-eyed siren
you painted every day.

Back then
I was doped up on camomile tea
and the idea of love,
thinking I’d saved a man
from drowning,
unable to see the mess
behind your eyes.

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~ by Gaia Holmes on September 1, 2011.

2 Responses to “Camomile tea”

  1. What a wonderful portrait, both of the I and the man who the I thought could be saved from drowning who droned into repeating himself, apparently, by letting things go and painting every day. The last two lines are perfect.

  2. This is such a good poem that I am amazed. It is a portrait that ends in an insight that most of us never really realize, that those we save are often messes in their heads and that our efforts at renovation cannot succeed because the outer life is related to the inner life. The language is absolutely wonderful too:

    You cooked but hardly ate,
    lived on the wonky G note
    you scratched and bowed
    on your battered violin,
    sucked fat from the colours
    of the same raw-eyed siren
    you painted every day.

    Wow!

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