Hard lines

She wore the lines impressed on her leathern face

Like the rings of a tree

Her hair hanging down in dark brown tea stained tendrils

Her eyes both blank and sad

Dark marbles starring into nothing

Her skin hung on her bones

Like a tired bag of clothes

Her brow deeply farrowed

Now lies fallow of all the concerns of parenthood

As she moves among the rooms of her flat

The queues at the shops

At the bank

Lost in her own world

Her trekkie bottoms hang on by a miracle of science

Her trainers have seen plenty of service

As have the fingers

That bear the yellow of numerous smokes

Along with the rattled cage of coughing beneath her ribs

Bearing testament to the heavy leaden shuffle

Of her legs and feet

But occasionally

Just occasionally

Through the rasping heaving tired

And suckered teeth that remain between the gaps

A smile breaks the bedevilled lips

For reasons that only she knows

And nobody else will question

◄ Far from this place

old kid, new tricks ►


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Andy N

Sat 16th Jun 2018 06:54

gets off for a great start Martin with the image on the first two lines and then carries in a lovely way. trees are such complex things like humans i think so i think this is a good, no be it excellent start.

but anyway i'm whaffling.

great stuff my friend.

loved it.

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Martin Elder

Mon 4th Jun 2018 22:22

Thanks for your reading and comments Suki they are always welcome
Cheers my friend

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suki spangles

Mon 4th Jun 2018 00:19

Really enjoyed this poem, Martin. Ray's observations are spot on.

Oh, and thanks so much for your feedback on my poems. Always appreciated.



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Martin Elder

Thu 31st May 2018 23:09

Thanks to Frances for liking
and Thanks very much for commenting Hannah. I am glad you liked it. Much appreciated.

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Hannah Collins

Thu 31st May 2018 15:29

A stunning portrait of a person, acknowledging every feature.
It's brilliant.


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Martin Elder

Sun 13th May 2018 14:02

Thanks for liking Rachel much appreciated

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Martin Elder

Wed 9th May 2018 22:03

Thanks for your observations Ray, welcomed as always. I think perhaps you are right with some of the people we see around us. So many of them are living in their own internal worlds. but then I realise as I say this so are almost everybody else to varying degrees.
Thanks again Ray

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Tue 8th May 2018 21:23

I think it works well here that you move from the past tense to the present at the end, making the smile stand out more, Martin. Sadly, I just think of perhaps a mental problem in some cases such as this lady typifies.

Written with lots of feeling.


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Martin Elder

Tue 8th May 2018 09:10

Thanks to Colin and Brain for liking and thanks to Keith and Anya for your comments.

As you astutely realised Keith I am a people watcher as I suspect many of us are. I happened to be passing the open doors of a bank recently and saw this lady. A lot of what I wrote was artistic licence partly based on what I have noticed of others I have come across, sometimes in my past working life. When ever I see such souls my heart goes out to them.

Thanks again for reading and commenting



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keith jeffries

Sun 6th May 2018 20:12

this is a an intriguing character sketch, from keen observation of the human condition. One of the best poems I have read in a long time. Thank you indeed.

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