Is Nothing For Keeps?

the lottery of children’s destinies; faction/fiction


Shuffling, patiently waiting,
The Young sisters, Doris and Yvonne,
looking silly in their pinned-up napkin hats
and posies of wilting wild flowers,
dragging old, worn high-heeled shoes
hopping and clopping behind them, and
their wayward brother, Johnny Young,
who once dropped a brick on my head,
taking it all far too seriously;
standing stiffly to attention
throughout the ceremony.
And Valerie Bush from the posh house
next to the nursing home,
so unsporting, looking demurely adulterous
on Jane Upton’s own special day
in white-edged maroon blazer
and blue be-ribboned straw hat.
All hold an arch of birch twigs
behind me and best man, Michael Portway,
who sports an old tin warden’s helmet,
“Your brother home from the front!”
Jane, beautiful bride, shrouded in lace curtain,
arrives in solemn procession
on the arm of tall Tony Bush,
awkwardly patriarchal, self conscious
ducking shyly through the cruel,
unyielding branches.
And the ceremony, full of enthusiastic
muttering of “Will yous?” “Do yous?”
repeated promises and offered suggestions,
followed by several opportunist “I wills”, and
the bride kissed passionately amid giggles and
hidden red faces, and now,
I see Doris. She never married.
Lives alone with her cats.
Yvonne, has severe arthritis,
gets around on elbow-crutches.
Johnny operates a high crane.
Michael killed at sixteen,
riding pillion on a motor bike.
Valerie personally assists an EU Minister,
while brother Tony is a Wing Commander, RAF.
Jane and I married after university
Both, twenty-two,
three children came along, but
we divorced after thirty-four years.
I was never able to really forget Valerie.
 (with thanks to Susan Holt)

© Gothicman 2017
critique and comments welcome.

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14 Comments on "Is Nothing For Keeps?"

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So much played out in this poem, so many lives carrying disappointments and dissolved dreams, while undercurrents run through. Like it very much. Sue 🙂


I suspect we all have similar cross sections but you bring this to life in glorious detail quite sad but very true, very well penned Trevor.


Goth, we have all been there. Don’t let it get to you…. nicely written though, but it does seem to hint at a little pain…


Oh gods, Trevor! How fantastic to be reading your work again. What a fantastic portrait of your surroundings and of the people within that world. I am afraid that I cannot leave a better comment at the minute, as I am just reveling in being here and reading your work again. I hope you’re well, I haven’t been here for years, but I missed you.


Just fantastic poetry, Trevor. Actually reminds me of an old Pogues song… ‘some of them fell in to heaven, some of them fell in to hell’. I used to know a Tony Bush, by the way… a spotwelder by trade.


Trevor, This is amazing writing. Readers could see their days in the poem so easily. Good ideas become gems in the hands of diligent writers like you. I take a bow Sir. Best. Supratik

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