widow 1

The amaranthine pilgrim a
leper by a cruel design
sheds flakes of scaly skin
prides in his soft tissue lesions
laughs in the face of temporal
‘dust to dust’ consequences
in continuum’s glorious colony

Hidden dangers in the Yew trees
enveloping mostly time weary
marble tributes, condescendingly
flattering the mutton dressed as lamb
come-hither fallen angel earliest of
far apart granite stone Christian churches

A pity it was raining cats and dogs
a wind chill that could freeze
the balls off a brass monkey for
the stonemason had been at play

A cloistered mourner, just a slip of
a girl sporting heavy veils of black crêpe
and cheap pink wellies contradiction

That the youngest of drenched through widows
had just buried the detritus that was once her
husband’s mortal residence a poor excuse, for
dreams in denial born of baseless naked regret
a mere masochism at best; self-pity otherwise

A soggy headdress floral wreath
more suited to May Day’s dance
transferred upon a lonesome
headstone suited her immediate needs
almost spoke to her, she who had neglected
the simplest fact of all, namely that he needs but
a nothing now, then again he never needed much anyway

“Please Sir will you just go away…can you not see I grieve?”

“All I said luv was how are you feeling…you know, nothing out of order…just got a bit concerned when I spotted you drop to your knees…that’s all” so said the sodden old man in bib and brace overalls carrying a hessian bag containing a holocaust of exhumed dandelion roots, “I’ll leave you to yourself then luv…but I will keep an eye out for you later…you know, when it starts to get dark I’ll walk you to the gate… you get some funny types in graveyards after dark…can’t be too careful”

One day, an age from the now
the widow will understand full well
that given a free hand and providing
there is no hunting party about a habit
will always consume a desire…as such desires
must always be a protected emotion…it is the way of things

“Oi luv…dusk is upon us, the weather is foul, best you think about setting off home”

Common sense prevails
she readies herself for the empty
hike to a fallow glorified lean-to

“You’ll find that the nefarious juggler plays both wicked and sublime tricks if you’re not careful…I should know! Like I said I’ll walk with you”

She nods a circumspect affirmative

Her meddling oldie knight in shining armour parts the rusty wrought iron exit for the young widow, “You’ll feel better one day just don’t beat yourself up…you can’t change what happens or will happen…even that venerable fool Canute, a King and all couldn’t get the better of tide and moon. Take care now”

A bowed head trudge
the worst of trudges
she makes her way homeward
but not before turning back
thinking a polite wave goodbye in order

She hears the stay away
tinkle of a jilted bell
turns back, sees just a leper
hand remnants waving adieu

The morning alarm
ring-a-ding dong
triggers an all of a sudden
radio din, traffic news and famine
as she is served sweet tea
buttered toast with honey on a tray
by a grinning very much alive spouse
wearing nought but her kitchen apron

Alchemy or actuality?
B side of life’s vinyl or
sublime album cover art?
Only the leper can say

Prompted by a conversational thread with Jessie Martinovic, a most gifted young writer. You’ll find her at;



46 thoughts on “ONLY THE LEPER CAN SAY

  1. ” the sodden old man in bib and brace overalls carrying a hessian bag containing a holocaust of exhumed dandelion roots” …fabulous, your writing knocks me out Mike!

      1. Sadly old Spike stopped at the second line or else I’d add more. I did rather like his take on death though…’I’m not afraid of death, just dying’! He used to rent a flat off an old aunt of mine who died yet didn’t leave me even a penny! Cow

      2. The grand or the panty hose…if the former then I shall place a bet on a horse, in the case of the latter I’ll likely pull them over my face, buy a shooter and rob a bank! Choices, choices

      3. Well that’s always an option. You know, there’s a movie my husband often quotes, I don’t know which one but it’s definitely an American one with a really insipid sense of humor. Anyway, the two main characters decide to rob a (insert bank, store, etc. here) while wearing pantyhose over their heads and someone sees them and says “boy, you got a panty on your head.” Yep, that’s the quote my husband keeps in his repertoire.

      1. And if the likes of those knots were based within African-Americano follicles there’d be no worries 🙂

      2. Crikey you’ve just reminded me of a skit I wrote about Jimi Hendrix and his Velcro phobia…thinks…must find it…if it still exists…post it again! Cheers for that and best of good fortune as ever, The Exceedingly Old Fool who has just overdone it on a treadmill and his left foot has swollen up something chronic…indeed it may me one for Shirley to take a snap of and post it on Facebook thus outdoing the cakes, cats and kids!

      3. Dust it off then! I drew a charchol drawing with my foot last night (never done before) , may had been foreseeing your unfortunate incident

    1. Even as the old atheist that I am the architecture within and around churches…especially so the Catholic ones of mainland Europe (Henry XIII got rid of most of ours) is sublime and inspiring. I was in the cathedral in Reims a week ago and what with the WW2 bullet scars inside and out I could squeeze history out of thin air there!

      1. Intense places they are and somehow the most intense senses there tend to lean towards the mysterious and the “dark” of the past that once was…history was after all full of gloom and suffering, not much of its glitter stuck to pages or old rugged walls…but it was there nevertheless 🙂

    1. Making up new collective nouns is rather fun…I have a new one I must use. I held the café door open just yesterday for a very old lady whereupon several dozen old ladies (I imagine they all came to town on a coach ride or similar) all exited. I held the door open for what seemed an age while a ‘squadron of old ladies’ departed!

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