Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Erekle St. Tbilisi

I remember when,

Next door

Threw beautiful things into

Our garden.


Things like,

Golden rings inscribed with script so

Delicate that swan shaped bracelets

Bowed reverent heads and

Turtles, with outstretched limbs and emeralds for eyes

Played hide and seek amongst our rioting passion fruit vines.


Sometimes, when we

Played archaeologists

We unearthed golden shaped beans

Amongst the wildflowers that stomped

And tantrum’ed against the back sun-lit wall.


Uneven cobbled streets were our friends.

They rang out with

Childish laughter as we rolled our inside outside bicycle wheels through

Sunshine shade, through sunshine shade, towards the river

That called us to her with her song.



The Communists came in the discontented winter and

Took my Grandfather for being a good man.  They left

Only charred papers in a burnt out grate and

Four women whose cracked hands bled and beat

River washed wool to within an inch of its life.


Stones cracked, shutters rotted, balconies crumbled.

Mice made homes in window-sill holes

Where once there were silk spun drapes  but now

Wild yellow roses dwell.


My poor mother slaved to feed


Dulce et decorum est

(The old lie)

Non est Mortuus.

(He is not dead)


Every month she sent,

In a brown paper parcel

With ‘sorry’ written on the



Bread from our oven,

Cheese from our goats,

Meat from the village,

Apples from our tree,

Socks knitted by guttering candle light,

Handkerchiefs made from curtains

To the punishing frozen North.


The first month

She sent,

Shoes, a book of

Poetry and

His reading glasses which, whilst cracked would

 Have to Suffice.


There was never any reply.


As I peer through the gap in the demolition boards

A rubble of childhood memories gaze back at me and

I see yellow roses wink and riot defiantly

Against the back wall in the

Lengthening shadow of a

Dying sun.

The family of women sent food parcels, every month, to Siberia for 4 years, encouraged by the Red Army and believed their Grandfather was alive.  In 1925 they were issued with papers that told a different story. Their Grandfather had been shot and his body buried in a mass grave the day he had been taken from the house back in 1921.

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