chance meeting with a retro muse

it was a year or so since I saw Oonagh


there had been other muses

but she was, still is,

my non plus ultra.


she was the heart of many works with

a dozen names in a dozen guises

I often wondered if she realised

how much she figured in my writing.


I told Oonagh I loved her dearly,


‘I love you too, but brotherly.’


our only date?

a theatre night watching

a mutual favourite – Macbeth.


she wore a green velvet dress,

and a necklace of Whitby jet.


sitting beside her

I glowed, entranced,

not even daring

to brush her hand.


my one-way ‘love’ was unsustainable,  

its sudden end predictable.


no one was to blame,

how can souls combine?


that takes a miracle -

and there’s never a shaman

around when you need one.


I burned the love letters

too passionate to post

and books of notes about her

tears washed the coils of smoke

from my eyes as I poked

into the flames, watching

all that remained of

my obsession slowly

turn to charcoal ash.


Oonagh reduced to  

a ghost from my past.


but then I glimpsed her

sitting on my bus.


she turned her face away,

intently window-gazing,

playing the ‘I didn’t see you’ game.


at the terminus

she looked much smaller

she looked much older

she looked much frailer

her face much sadder 

than I remembered.


‘hello, Oonagh, you’re looking well.’

 ‘thank you. I got your book you sent me.’

‘you’re Rita in the opener.’

‘I figured that. the book’s quite good...’

‘thanks a lot. I’m glad you like it.’

‘... at least it’s better than your others.’


a long pause.


peck on the cheek?

open old sores?

or walk away?


I reached out a hand.

she walked away.




◄ interview ....

staunch ►


Profile image


Wed 27th Nov 2019 02:04

Love letters are never too passionate to post, lonely souls feed on those. Thanks for not burning this one! 🖤


Sun 17th Nov 2019 12:03

Thanks, Tom. I saw her and wondered what I'd seen in her - however the spark would soon be ignited in brighter circumstances, I'm sure.

We all need a muse - real or imagined to focus upon 😃

Profile image


Sun 17th Nov 2019 11:28

Rick, I loved this, particularly your talk of burning books of notes and washing the twisting smoke away. There is something so sad about that chance encounter when the divine glow that once enveloped your old muse has all but evaporated and they look weaker somehow. Perhaps they've not changed at all, it's just our perception that has somehow withered?

If you wish to post a comment you must login.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message