Archive for the ‘death’ Category


July 6, 2008

Jenny Black.  Never heard of her?  I didn’t think you had.  We couldn’t help her so we didn’t even try.  Women with personality disorders are far more likely to be the victims of violent attacks than the perpetrators and lack of media attention is a symptom of how, in this so-called ‘civilised’ society, some people matter and others don’t.

Nobby’s Dog

April 7, 2008

…Freddi is dead. His son took her to the vet’s on Friday morning. In a nutshell her lungs had simply stopped working. She was in great pain. Nobby’s son telephoned him from the vet’s and he consented to have her put to sleep. When I spoke to Nobby in the afternoon he could hardly get the words out. ‘How is Freddi?’ I asked.


I don’t think those around him understand what this had done to him. He is ninety one. He has lived through a war. He fought in Italy in a Special Services Reconnaissance Commando Unit. He has seen men blown to bits, trapped in tanks, burning to death and yet none of that affected him as much as the demise of ‘a little white dog’. It’s like Freddi was an anchor, tethering him to the earth and now she has gone there is no reason for him to stay. He is broken. There is a wall between us. I don’t know what to say to make it all better. Why are we given things only for them to be snatched away?

When someone asked me if I had had a ‘flutter on the grand national’ I directed them to this link.


February 3, 2008

Nothing much to report. I stopped visiting a certain blog when I began to use phrases such as ‘festering ferrets’ , ‘deluded Dalmations’ , ‘pernicious penguins’ and ‘catatonic kangaroos’ (yes, I know that last one doesn’t really work) in everyday conversation. Credit where credit is due though – its contributors had some very sweet and comforting things to say about Bella. I keep seeing Bella’s ‘ghost’. Her image is embedded in my mind so I am seeing what I expect to see. My GP understands. He has his own phantom feline: a cat called Marmalade who died last year. He says it will pass. Eventually.

GhostCat: Where are YOU?

January 7, 2008

There will never be a perfect time to have a pet. I am being bombarded by offers from my friend Andrew who works at a cat sanctuary – He has found a lovely little affectionate cat called Bounce. I don’t even feel like visiting. I am so tired. I don’t think this will be a good time to bring cats into a still grieving home.

Bella has been my (almost) constant companion. For a decade she has been by my side. (Apart from my trip to America and Europe when Bella stayed in Birmingham with my parents). But I thought about her, I dreamed about her.

But Bella was a stubborn little Madam and would make me endure lots of silent treatments when I returned which were resolved when Bella felt that she had made me suffer enough. She wasn’t nicknamed ‘Bratcat’ for nothing.

I know I will never find a cat like Bella again. One night, back in 1996, I opened the front door to let a friend out and, as the friend left, this little white cat invaded by apartment. She slipped through the door and let out a piercing miaow, a miaow that said ‘I’m here and I’m here to stay’. And stay she did for eleven years. A lady downstairs had one more cat than she needed. The youngest(Bella -6) was being bullied by the Top cat. So, she came to live with me. Melissa, her first rescuer, told me that she’d been wandering Mill Road – emaciated, with no fur on her back legs – when she found her. She took her back to her flat and was surprised to find that she was house trained. She had also been spayed. My neighbour nursed her back to health but cats can be fickle creatures and Bella began to explore other flats in a bid to find herself another home. Bella had made up her mind. Every night she stood outside my door calling for me to let her in. I did. And every night she came. I made an agreement with her human who found it difficult to have to deal with night after night of hissing, spitting, snarling.

So she surrendered and brought Bella to me. She sat perched on my chest that night and the purrs she emitted soothed me into a sleep devoid of dreams. She became a permanent fixture in my life, almost to the exclusion of everyone else. And she was loyal to the end. She died in her sleep. Next to me. The best way to die some say. I’m not so sure. Doubts are setting in

If anybody’s interested Bella was 17

More Later


December 6, 2007

What are Doug (92 year old war veteran) and I to do on these long, dark nights when I pop across the expanse of lawn that separates his flat from mine? Doug was known as Nubby throughout his time in the RAF and then the army. Apparently, everyone with the name ‘Clarke’ in the army is automatically known as ‘Nobby’. No one thinks to ask why,. Well, we sit, we watch TV, we talk, we reminisce. Sometimes I think that some supernatural force has pushed us together. Often I picture us as two helpless, stranded sailors cut adrift from our nation’s territorial waters and everything we once knew. Because the alliance of two people as different as we are is unacceptable in conventional circles. And it is those circles that squeeze the world by throat. So we delicately sidestep the demands made upon us by those who have never been where he has, who have never been where I have and, please God, with a cherry on top, see to it that they never do.

And, yes, another Remembrance Sunday has passed without a remark from Doug. He is more than a war veteran is his constant refrain but nothing can change the fact that when he closes his eyes at night, he sees things that most of us could never even conceive of.

There He Goes Again

November 12, 2007

There he goes again
That mad megalomaniacal monarch
Severing heads and hanging heathens
With one look we could condemn ourselves
One word out of place is treason
And often he executes without reason

He sits on his throne
A sumptuous feast spread out before him
He watches as the executioner does his work
He slurps amd slavers as he anticiptes
Future killings and bestial bloodlettings
While all around him subjects shudder

‘Your Majesty, it was not I,’
They cry but it is rather like addressing
The indifferent sky. With a gloved hand
He waves them away. He has never had
So much fun. Power makes him high
Power makes him fly….

….And his reign has only just begun


October 1, 2007

I am merely an object moving through space
Out of place and lacking in grace and you begin
With a disclaimer. You tell me I am essential
But incomplete. You desecrate my disordered dreams
‘Your mother is gone. She died in the night’
No one cried and then the great divide arrived
You only die once, after all. You move in on me
You disagree with my methodology. You disapprove
Of my every move. My words are unheard and undeterred
You detach me from all context and you begin,
Slowly and deliberately, to deconstruct me.


September 17, 2007

We know how he died but we don’t know why. A few nights ago a neighbour killed himself by jumping from the balcony of his sixth floor flat. He died, they said, of ‘horrific’ internal injuries. We don’t know how long his broken body lay on the grass before he was discovered. His closest neighbours cannot even remember his name. They only remember that he was ‘very mentally ill’. He was deemed worthy of a couple of columns in the local paper.

We know how he died but we don’t know why.
Perhaps we never will.

Loss: For the Irretrievable Ones

August 30, 2007


You feed me sweet mouthfuls
Of syrup or something similar
And your spirit comes
And drags me through the sky

No one hears my cry
I learned to fly just so that
I could be with you
I soar through
The dawn’s cool dew
And, oh what a view
I have of you.

I Remember

I remember
My lips against her cold cheek
My hand resting on a dying face
My body, weak and trembling
As they lead me away

At night I walk upon water
At night an angelic being visits me
In the land between sleep and consciousness
She takes my hand, leads me out of my body
Through the air, across the land and into the sea

And death shall have no dominion
Dylan Thomas

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan’t crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.

No Cure

March 26, 2005

Ruby Residue

Your corpse is riddled with ruby residue
My friend, there is no cure for you
God would not be appeased
The spirits could not be pleased. No prayers
Or sacrifices or religious rituals would do
And, once again, I look at you.

What drew you to this troubled region,
This zone of apocalyptic restlessness
This land replete with death
What reactionary pedagogue
Instilled the altruistic madness that resided
So stubbornly in your head

Above, the clouds resume their duel
The wind screams across the land
You walked into the storm
Fearless while we slammed our windows shut

Already I can hear your spirit
Walking above me
Today is the first day of your death.

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