I wrote this poem in the car driving north one day last year after hearing that an old friend had died - I won't pretend I was deeply saddened, as we hadn't spoken for a long time - but I did mourn the connection we used to have. I don't know what I did - or when I did it - but I found myself suddenly locked out of the house that had been our friendship. I continued to throw a few flowers over that wall for a while, but the phone never rang again. so I let it be. I never showed the poem to anyone. There had been snow on the hills as I left the city that morning, and this is how the sky and the road to the north looked through my windscreen as I wrote it.
I drive north in the snow, and I think about you -
and a party you had at your house.
We drank to Lord of the Rings and John Millington Synge,
Flann O’Brien, Neil Young and Mickey Mouse.
Today the books on my shelf turns their spines to the wall;
all the characters’ hearts have been broken.
And thousand-year-old poems fold their frail, tired arms -
all the words, words, words have been spoken.
When we hugged in your hall we said we’d always be friends -
that’s hard work, but easy to say.
Because handshakes are brief and all parties end
when the taxis come and take us away.