She is not here

in the garden, in the crunching

of snails,

the careful snip of a rose.


She is not here

in my kitchen, puffing out

bags of flour;

no mischief in my measuring out.


She is not here

in my study, the place

I planned my retreat

after many long years.


She is not here

in my car, the radio

spilling out fresh horrors,

my name sunk again.


She is not here

and I cannot answer

all your questions.

It would take a lifetime

to weigh them all.


She certainly is not here

slipping into my bed

in the dark of the night,

seeking warmth

as all little lost things do.


You cannot know

the evidence on which I based my decision,

the weighted hours I sought


communing with the facts,

the hours I spent


his words

and his acts.


You cannot know.

She is not here.

◄ Travelling without moving


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Wed 13th Sep 2017 18:58

Great rhythm, I much enjoyed)

Tony Hill

Wed 19th Oct 2016 09:41

Sorry about the late comment, Suzi, but I just wanted to say what a beautiful piece of writing. In another life I was the Designated Child Protection teacher in a busy comprehensive and dealt with allegations of abuse. I would happily have meted out my own justice to one or two of the worst offenders.

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Suzi Challenger

Tue 18th Oct 2016 21:50

Thank you for all the feedback (and your kind concern for me, which is very touching). It's fascinating to see what other readers get out of a poem - I'm delighted that tenderness and other gentle emotions have been found here, that really pleases me because I think they do have a part to play in the story I was trying to tell, but I didn't intentionally put them there iyswim. So it's best value 😀

I actually wrote this in response to the coverage of Ellie Butler's death and the subsequent conviction of her father for her murder. I live in Sutton, my children are of a similar age, and I think about Ellie a lot. Particularly the fact that she lived almost her whole life in a place of love and safety, then was taken out of there by a judge who not only gave her back to her abusive parents but made it very difficult for concerned parties, of which there were many, to raise further safeguarding concerns.

The judge in question, Mrs Justice Hogg, retired just before Ben Butler's trial began and to my knowledge has never made any public comment on the matter.

I wonder how it might feel to live every day with such a decision.

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Adam Whitworth

Tue 18th Oct 2016 11:58

Justice, hey?

People can't agree on the best ice cream; not because they're stupid but because they have differing opinions.

Justice suffers from the ice cream syndrome, unfortunately.

very good poem, well done Suzi.

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Graham Sherwood

Tue 18th Oct 2016 11:19

As Colin says, it is always hard to totally understand the "subject matter" of a poem and many here on WOL quickly jump to the autobiographical reference.

As a study in loss this is the most tenderest piece I have read for some time. I particularly like the simple domestic references

The crunch of a snail/the snip of a rose/measuring out cooking ingredients etc.

For your part I hope it is not autobiographical but whatever it is, it has been recorded most beautifully.

<Deleted User> (13762)

Tue 18th Oct 2016 08:18

I started reading this thinking it was about your mother and it reminded me of a recent poem by Ray here on WoL. Then it seemed it might be about the loss of a daughter but at the end seems more about you.

I'm not the best at deciphering meanings in poems but whatever and whoever it is, there are some thought provoking images here. Thanks for sharing what appears to be a very personal piece of writing.

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