by Hilary Mundy
You raised me on a pedestal
And knelt before my plinth in awe
The person I turned out to be
Was not the paragon you saw
And you, while drinking in my tales
As, lightly, I made my soul bare,
Upon your mem’ry’s granite bales
Were regist’ring them then and there
Light headed and amenable
Rejoicing in my happy power
T’inspire devotion palpable,
Luxuriating in the shower
Of your affection, on I prattled
Seeing no cause to feel rattled.
We raised our young – thus time was spent
You undertook your work, I mine.
I took it that a shared intent,
A common principle did shine
Within we two. If t’was once so
Somewhere upon life’s turnpike, grey,
Our plans and hopes diverged. There was
A parting in our mutual way.
In later years, when argument
And disagreement shook the air
You gave your wrath unfettered vent
And freed your rage from its grim lair
No more adoring dwelling on
My sparkling wit, my silken hair,
For now was I a harridan
Who chilled you with her lack of care
Those stories I’d told by the host
To entertain you (as I thought)
Were now perceived as brag and boast,
As evidence of how I’d fought
To elevate my shallow state
Within your eyes or in your heart;
And echoed back by you, to bait
And pierce me with your venom’s dart
Those characters I’d told about
Those friends and lovers from the past
Were then hurled back, You spat them out,
Affixed your colours to your mast.
There was no doting, fawning love
Just fury and vindictive mirth
The pedestal you’d built for me
You’d long ago razed to the earth
I trusted you, upon a time
Before the unrelenting years
Unfolded. I believed you’d climb
Those peaks of faith and cross those meres
Of loyalty. I thought I had
A soulmate with whom I could share
Experiences, good or sad
Conditions, whether foul or fair
But all the time, as it transpires
You’d stored my tinkling repartee.
Those early stories were the sires
Of bitter, furious, perfidy
I differed from your dream of me.
You did not turn out as I’d planned.
It took decades for us to see
Our love’s foundation stood on sand.
But tell me. Help me, please, to see,
Was there a time when we were young
When all your hope was to learn me
As mine was you? When laughter hung
Around us, with love, on the air
A time when our glad song was sung
In unison, with mutual care?
Was there a time, before disease
Obsessively entered your mind
When you believed I wished to please
And love you. And when you were kind
And honest in your love for me
And strove to put my feelings first?
For isn’t that how love should be
Full of a fine and noble thirst
For honesty, support and truth?
Or are such soaring feelings cursed
Nought but th’imaginings of youth?
Hilary Mundy is a civil servant who writes in her spare time.