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Poetry Magnum Opus

A Wife's Memorial


Frank E Gibbard
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Frank E Gibbard

Sandhu's wife had been the best thing

about life, life being not a sinecure for

sure when you're untouchable in India.

He had lost that touch of one he loved

so much when she caught her disease

from bacteria and flies and sadly dies.

This industrial malaise, cause of all his

hurt's unease not recognised as such;

society would not touch untouchables'

distress or aleviate that mess of caste,

let alone a husband's plight as he eked

out a widower's mite to make a little last.

No benefit to him no more slim pickings

from the refuse dump, no sum of State

compensation not even a lump. Losing

Sanjana put Sandhu more on the skids,

no cook nor partner for four young kids.

A life more miserable still when she left

rending a heart disconsolate and bereft.

He missed her as passionately as Shah

Jahan did his Mumtaz Mahal, of course

no such elegant memorial was in his gift

yet that in his memory would never shift.

And as a peerless Taj, whose white walls

enshrined one husband's grief and tears

recalls a rich emperor's loss so famously

around the world poor Sandhu would on

their anniversary day go down to where

the Ganges swirled, there was the private

place that he had kissed her ashes away.

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there was the private

place that he had kissed her ashes away.

 

That might be one of the most tender lines (OK, 2) I have read.

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Frank E Gibbard

Marti, that is a kind observation in going for poignancy thanks for that. Frank

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  • 1 month later...
David W. Parsley

Hi Frank,

 

This one has haunted me since I first read it. Nice blend of anguish, under-statement (e.g. 'industrial mailaise'), and tenderness as noted by dcmarti. Among the ironic twists of phrase lies the brutality of an ugly pun:

 

No benefit to him no more slim pickings
from the refuse dump, no sum of State
compensation not even a lump.

 

Plays on sum as well as likely symptoms in the appearance of lumps in the doomed woman's body. The fidelity preserved in the face of loss, swirling in the fabled river's turmoil at the end: very poignant.

 

Well Done,

- Dave

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  • 2 weeks later...
Frank E Gibbard

Your detailed analysis is appreciated David, profoundly, it moved me deeply in portraying these characters so rewarding this came across. Frank

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Excellent well presented human piece Frank. Grief cuts just as deep for the low born as those at the high end of whatever society, creed or culture.

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