Cinnamon and Brie

Rachel’s hair was soft

With auburn-red waves 

Flowing to her waist

(She could sit on it)

And a delicate scent

Reminiscent to me of

Cinnamon and brie.


Her smile lit up the faces

Of the friends

On whom she bestowed it,

It never shone on mine.


I was out of her league,

An ‘insignificant other’.


She skipped the streets,

Carefree, singing, clapping, dancing,

She never noticed me.


But, in the tunnels of my imagination

She danced and sang - just for me.


In dreams I called to angels

And Rachel was there

In dreams I jumped from high walls

And cliff-tops by the sea

Rachel’s arms opened to catch me,

In dreams.


In dreams she laid me down

Gently, brushed my forehead

With cool love lips and whispered,

“Goodnight, Darling. Sweet dreams.”

In dreams.


Though we walked different paths,

Separated ways,

She remained, a glimmering

In the album of my fantasies


Snacking lunch on Filey prom.

Mackerel, pasta, olives and cheese.

Fending off seagulls – the devil’s harpies

A hint of cinnamon and brie

Awakened mildewed memories.


Rachel’s face appeared,

Behind her hand, curled as a claw,


“Spare change for bus fare?”


I gave her the remains of my lunch

And a couple of pounds -

But she needed more

Much, much more.


We drank tea outside the Shuga Shak

Her hands hugged the mug

For the warmth within.


“What do they call you?”




I ignored the lie,

She was dying

Or had, inside,

Already died.


I mentioned teenage friends.

Names from shared history,

Her eyes brightened briefly.

Then my name too,

She shook her head,


“No. I don’t remember him. Who?”


“Any family… Lexi?”


She chewed a jagged fingernail.

Nibbled a split-end strand of hair

Mumbled, ‘toddler in care’

Adding a stillbirth

And a termination.


A storm blew in

I drove her back to mine

Offering my guest-room

For the night to keep her dry and

A change of clothes -

In place of the rags she was wearing -

She shrugged – long long past caring. 


She bathed, and put a flower

In her shampooed, brittle,

Once-lustrous red hair

That had tumbled to her waist

And she could sit on.


The years fell off her,

The pains slipped away

She regained the glow

Quashed so many tragedies ago.


We ate supper,

Drank a little wine.

She laughed,

We sang teenage hits



“I have to sleep, I’m past exhausted.”


I plumped her pillows,

Straightened the bed

Gently kissed her forehead.


“Goodnight, Rachel, darling. Sweet dreams.”


I found her next morning

Sitting upright,

Empty arms cradling

As if catching, and nursing,

A falling baby.


Still warm

No pulse

Quite dead.


And on her face

A broken-toothed smile

That lit up my face.



🌷 (1)

◄ Old Men Dancing

A Tower in Silence ►



Sun 17th Jun 2018 06:07

Yes, Cynthia, while a piece is 'live' it fills all my thinking - quite to the point of exhaustion at times - it's being sifted, edited, refined, shuffled etc - then maybe months later a single word, seen in an article or spoken on tv say registers and I go back to ater the poem - sometimes that occasions a whole switch in emphasis - no work is ever complete.
They are all 'for now'.

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Sat 16th Jun 2018 17:52

The 'story' is one thing, but the skill to bring it to life so poignantly is quite another. That is an amazing combination of intense sensitivity and craftsmanship skill. Your mind must filter ideas constantly, and weave through words unceasingly, always working.

I hope I'm not too bold.


Thu 14th Jun 2018 20:06

Why, thank you, Hannah. I'm touched that you like it 😃
It is included in my first book.

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Hannah Collins

Thu 14th Jun 2018 19:28

This poem is quite wonderful.
The last part made me gasp.
Extraordinary writing.



Thu 14th Jun 2018 16:24

Yes, Hazel, it came to me on a bus from Filey 😃

So many lives get dashed to the ground and trampled - sometimes we do it to ourselves and other times we don't.

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Hazel ettridge

Thu 14th Jun 2018 15:06

Another sad human loving futile if only story.

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