A Poem for a Thursday #68

Photo by Andrew Ridley on Unsplash

Tony Harrison is an English poet, translator, and playwright. Much of his poetry is inspired by his working-class childhood. He said that he "wanted to write the poetry that people like my parents might respond to." This poem is so sad but so beautiful.

Though my mother was already two years dead
Dad kept her slippers warming by the gas,
put hot water bottles her side of the bed
and still went to renew her transport pass.

You couldn't just drop in. You had to phone.
He'd put you off an hour to give him time
to clear away her things and look alone
as though his still raw love were such a crime.

He couldn't risk my blight of disbelief
though sure that very soon he'd hear her key
scrape in the rusted lock and end his grief.
He knew she'd just popped out to get the tea.

I believe life ends with death, and that is all.
You haven't both gone shopping; just the same,
in my new black leather phone book there's your name
and the disconnected number I still call. 

Long Distance II
Tony Harrison

Reese shared a soliloquy from HenryVII this week.


  1. This is great. And I do remember my parents' last phone number.

    1. I still remember the number my parents had when I was a kid. Of course, I can't remember my own kids' phone numbers now...

  2. What a moving poem! So sad! Lucinda

    1. It is very touching. I read it three times straight through.

  3. That is such a sad poem, but a very believable situation.

    1. It is nice to see you were able to comment but then I found out that I couldn't leave reply with the new comment format. I have switched back and I will have to do some more research and see if I can find a way to work around it.

  4. So simple yet so moving. Have been pondering on grief personally and this has touched a nerve.
    Thank you for posting this & the other Poems for a Thursday.

    1. Thank you for commenting. I am glad you enjoy all the poems and this one in particular. It does give such a moving picture of grief.