Poetry / Richard James Allen


Anyone who has died
that I knew:

I can feel
their essence.

Still here.
It’s not a thought

or a memory
I am having.

It’s a feeling.
They are here,

with me.
They are abiding.

My grandmothers,
my grandfather,

my dearest father.
Even the boy

who fell off
a cliff

when I was
at school.

And the grandfather
I never knew,

who was supposed
to be the control

to this séance-
like experiment. Yes,

I can feel him too,
though it’s not the same.

I feel him through his letters,
and the photos

and stories.
And then there are

the people
I never knew,

they are here also
but in a much more

distant way –
like the way

we look at fallen leaves,
without really

distinguishing between them
or feeling for them.

It’s as if those who you knew
are in the foreground,

and those who you knew about
are in the middle ground

and those who you didn’t know
are in the background.

And that’s everywhere
you look.

It’s like being inside

a cathedral built
of souls.

A mist
of souls.


Copyright © 2014 Richard James Allen.

Abiding was previously published in Westerly, Vol 58, no. 1, June 2013, and in Richard James Allen, Fixing the Broken Nightingale (Flying Island Books, an imprint of ASM and Cerberus Press, 2014).

The author’s book of poems Fixing the Broken Nightingale, can be purchased directly through http://www.fixingthebrokennightingale.com/


Photo by Zeina Issa, La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona


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