Empty Teacups

by | Apr 12, 2009 | Poetry | 0 comments

The knock came at night, crashing into the midnight stillness.
Pulling the bedclothes high, I encased myself in their security
Abject fear engulfing every muscle, every sinew in my body.
Dad was the one who moved, sliding bare feet into slippers
As if they were placed there in position for this very reason.
I felt his cold, tremulous hand, gently rest upon my shoulder
Just briefly; before the incessant knock sounded again.
As he clicked the bedroom door quietly, but firmly behind him
I felt an overwhelming vacuum of complete and utter emptiness
The blood draining from my heart, leaving in its wake an echoing beat
I buried down deeper, to silence it. I am sorry Dad, you have to go alone.
I willed myself, indeed ordered myself to return to the state of sleep
To hide, from the compelling, waiting truth, behind tightly shut eyes,
See the nightmare through, wake up refreshed, to a new spring day.
A day renewed with hope, that in two weeks my boy WILL be home!
Two weeks is nothing, for I waited twenty years for him to be born
Their came no others; he is my one pride and joy; and still my baby.
I don’t know if I did sleep, or just lay comatose into the early hours
But daylight was filtering through the curtains when my head obeyed,
A sudden inexplicit need to lift itself from the pillow comfort.
I thrust my arms firmly into the sleeves of a blue, corded dressing gown,
With a belied resoluteness, that I should pull myself together, be strong,
Go down, put the kettle on, Dad will need a cup of tea, sweet tea,
Always a comfort in a crisis, it’s what they had drunk in the other war.
My tread fell soft upon the carpeted stair, tentative and afraid,
Of the hidden truth of realisation, that awaited me; for a mother knew.
Dad was standing looking out at the garden, where a swing once stood
His shoulders stooped, his body collapsed, barely holding the weight of his frame
Lost in his own pain, he didn’t hear me come in, or feel my presence in the room.
It was the teacups that did it; just three white empty teacups,
Drained by the midnight callers, leaving their mark on the polished table.
A scream I couldn’t suppress unleashed itself from the depths of my womb
Filling the air with a grief that would never be explained or understood.
‘It’s our boy, isn’t it Dad. It’s our boy, he’s gone. My baby’s gone’.
Dad caught me just before I fell, ‘I know mom’ he uttered with a,
Strangled sob, ‘I know’.


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