Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Beddy Bye Blues

My old bed was ridiculously large
for my life-style
-for my night style-
so had to go. It went
to a couple who wanted more distance
between their dreams.
I bought instead
a mid-sized wooden bed
with a carved head of golden harmonies
that would welcome opportunity
in style,
but the mattress forbade joy,
or peace, except eternal:
it had to go.
Reality stepped in
when my tiny new house
gave storage a priority:
my new bed can now hold
in its base my old wedding trousseau:
cotton sheets and fine lace,
table cloths, soft blankets.
It stands like a monument in my little room,
makes too many demands on the eye
and the heart: so it will have to go,
be replaced by a bed of sensible size
for the sensible dreams
of a sensible life
                                                           -and if I strike lucky
                                                           we can always go t
o his house.

published in 1996 in Magma Poetry Magazine under my then married name of 'Armstrong'.

This Poem, Beddy Bye Blues, which I wrote quite a while ago now, describes very well the state of ambiguity I found myself in at the time - and many other times since: Am I too old for a relationship? Is it too late? Do I stand any chance? Have I learned better?

However, good health and vitality helping, I found it impossible to repress the urges towards engaging, sharing, loving and a sexual relationship: I was alive after all, like so many women feel after 50, 60, 70....... Not just a question of health, but of attitude, of being able to share in life at all levels as we do when we are younger, because we live longer, because bereavement or divorce are not an end to it all, and because we can still find in us the generosity of engagement.

So I wrote a book: Two's Company: Love Again, A Woman's Journey which is a chronicle of my attempts to find love again at the age of 66. Understand that I felt 36, 46, or was it 16?.....it was far too early to give up, roll over and die. (Male) friends who read it, in a spirit of discovery, were amazed, touched, amused but said: 'There is no sex at all!' 'You must put in some sex!'

I dared to disagree. First of all there hadn't been any sex during that particular period of exploration. I could have called the book No Sex in the City, making sure that at least the word sex was in the title, but it would have been a lie, and it's not as if I wasn't yearning for sex; I just wanted to stay true to the spirit of the book. I didn't want to distort my account with an artificial ploy that only served the purpose of selling. I knew I was depriving myself of a possibly important card, but was extremely reluctant to spoil what was a frank journey into loneliness and reflection with something that was not true at the time. So I stuck to my guns, and amid many meetings with possible or totally improbable men, reflected on how I had learnt to love - in childhood as we all do, the examples our family and acquaintances give us as well as books, etc. For good or ill, I had romantic notions. Was I however prepared to make a sensible choice? Had I changed to the point where I could be loved and not exploited?

That's our common journey isn't it?