A memorial to Emma Lindley

From Mum, Lament for Emma

When I was 8 years old, I had to memorise a poem to recite in class.  Anxiously, I searched the anthology for something that would be easy to learn. I didn’t care what it was about as long as it was short and broken into small chunks. The poem I found was ‘Break, break, break’, written by Tennyson on the death of his wife. I memorised well enough to get through the recitation with a few prompts.  In adulthood, although I remembered its rhythm and tone, I could only recall the first verse. After Emma died it kept coming into my mind, so I looked it up. In the weeks that followed my thoughts and feelings about her death began to colonise Tennyson’s structure.



Lament for Emma

Dead, dead, dead
When abruptly you ceased to be
Threads tore, and holes now gape
In the webs where you used to be

Your life was touched with fire
You could shine like the brightest star
Then engulfed by smoke from the fires of hell
Return was too rough, too steep, too far

Daughterless years lie ahead
I feel bleak as a motherless child
I look for your touch in the wind on my cheek
Your voice in the sounds of the wild

Dead, dead, dead
What’s left in life for me?
The warm embrace of those who remain
And the care of a willow tree

One Comment

  1. chloe Bruce

    that’s tough stuff for an 8 year old
    strong words, so real and meaningful for you now.
    such big ripped holes, made bigger by the large amount of person lost
    Glad to see the whole poem again.


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