It’s not about what you think, it’s about how you feel…

by Jane Mason Love and Loss

Love and loss inspire an awful lot of writing and here is mine…


An ending

The last time we spoke
you were backed against the wall.
In the middle of the hall you stood
arms crossed, hips cocked -
pugnacious as a terrier.
You’d done nothing wrong.

“I’m going downstairs to smoke”
you said, and vanished
like mist under a door or a
penny from a poor parishioner
descending, in a solitary journey.

I see you still, your hair askew
your pants, hurriedly donned,
halfway down your arse.
I made no fuss because I knew but
nevertheless I looked at you in a kind of a stupor;
backed against the wall in the middle of the hall.


The return

We took the bus to town that time
when you were only eight or nine
our tastes were still two of a kind
your little hand was tucked in mine.

And then the silence decsended…

You did not speak to me for days
instead you sulked and cried in rage
I was too stupid at that stage
for you, inside your teen age cave.

You were so dull, I could not cope
with how you used to moan and mope
you did not laugh, you did not joke
and I had given up all hope.

And then you rang…

You really did pick up the phone
You’d ditched the adolescent gloam
and left the “do not enter” zone
I felt that you had come back home.



The shadow baby
lay between us
crying in the night

we had no peace
we had no rest
we had no speech
we had no sex

the shadow baby
crying in the night

the shadow grew
a barbed wire fence
and you went left
and I went right.

Not there

and then not there
was my experience of you.

It was like throwing myself
off a high place
and falling
falling into the air.

I wove no net
like a fool
although I knew
the danger of the rhymes
you wove in conflicting colours
the warp and woof askew
for me and everyone else who knew
your great exposed depths.

For eight perfect days
I knew an artist, a magician, a man and a child.
You were there
and not there.

It took the air
out of my body
like a shock.

Like a blow
the heavy impact
of having fallen.


St George’s day feast

Snap me off at the stem end
where I emerge firm and ruddy
soft tip running to
muscular hinge as I leave the earth.

Envelop me in warmth and moisture.

Roll me in your mouth:
nibble, chew, and bite
from your fingers -
finish by wiping my remains
from your chin.


Town and country

That fucking pheasant of yours
(peacock, pheasant, whatever)
is every bit as noisy
as an ambulance crossing Hammersmith bridge.

I thought it was in the room
with us as we lay in bed
this morning at dawn.



I could drown in your mouth.

Feet against your chest
Chin on my knees
You smile down at me.

I would do dishes for this man.


Peter Pan

You come in the door with wind in your eyes
and a fish under your arm
dreaming of the sky.

Dirt under your nails, you dig up something to eat
and cut a flower for the table
singing to the dishes left over from lunch.

You are fragile and uncertain
seeking affirmation
and one thousand other things.

It is not your shadow that worries you.



In the apple tree of my childhood
you sat across from me
all tangled blonde hair
and bloody knees

I remember wrapping up long grass in leaves and smoking it
to imitate our mothers who were absent until meal times

We had an underground fort
and an igloo
leeches in the lake and
salt in the shaker

The child you were
has become the man you are:
cynical and fearful. Alone
with neither apple trees nor friends to sit in them

Douglas. Dougie. Doug.

At what point between the garden and the house did I lose you?


You wove a web of words
(stories, letters, books and music)
that drew me in
(welcome to my world…stay awhile)

Like some crazy-arsed fly I flew
into the middle of it,
got stuck, and struggled,
struggled to find my voice

To free myself I resorted
to a relentless buzzing
(buzz, buzz, buzzzzzzz)
that grew in intensity
as it shrank in meaning

I wanted to swat myself at times

When the rhymes fell away
in the shock of silence
I could suddenly hear.


I like the feeling
Of not knowing
Where my fingers end
And yours begin.


Can I love you enough
to make you love yourself?

Can I release you
from the neverending need
to publicise, exhibit and explain?

By repeating your message a million times
will you overcome your
secret, pressing and fragile needs
and make yourself whole?

Will you let me love you at all?

Without words

I wish you could see through my eyes just this once.


My eyes well up with tears.

You move me the way landscape does:
Without words.


My heart against your back
draws me still.

I would let my head fall back with a sigh.

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