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Sleep well sweet lissome Summer Maid,
who danced across the rooftops grey,
now resting in some hidden glade,
to dream the Autumn nights away.

The light she spread has mellowed now,
the gilt, the glister, turned to brown,
she is subdued in seasons flow,
muted ‘neath the Autumn gown.

The cups of wine, the songs she sang,
the radiance in hearts of gold,
the playfulness, the joy that rang
remembered by the young and old.

With skies of pink she rouged the land.
In distant hills her dreams now grow,
where sunsets touched by Autumn’s hand
are deepened by an amber glow.

And in the dreams, where children play,
they see her sleep, her time has passed.
She left them with the briefest kiss
as eaves of Autumn’s shadow cast.
The Briefest Summer
Although we had a decent summer here in the uk - for various reasons it felt quite brief for me and now summer has ended I wrote this.
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My left shoulder had been feeling a little heavy and sore of late and I put it down to nothing more than perhaps a strain of some sort –  but when I looked at myself in a full length mirror one morning I got a nasty shock.  Sitting quite pertly and nonchalantly with skinny legs dangling from my clavicle into the Great Beyond where my belly button resided was a small, perfectly formed old man.  Quite a grumpy looking one, it has to be said.  I was unsure whether his sour expression was due to being discovered or whether he had been involved in residential disputes. One of his feet actually obscured my belly button, with its big toe venturing into the large crop of masculine hair, hitherto a scenic profusion that declared the testosterone of the main landowner. It was BB’s kingdom though. Yes BB must have been quite put out not to be numero uno of the middle torso.

Anyway, regardless of any bickering and downright hostility that may or may not have caused the old man’s expression, I could not help but wonder how he came to be there.  He was only visible in the mirror, so that might have been a clue. Was he a ghost? Was he a holy presence? Was I a ‘chosen one’.  The former theory I cogitated on. Weren’t ghosts supposed to go into an afterlife rather than sit on peoples’ shoulders?  Did I upset him in life and now he had returned to be a proverbial albatross around my neck – okay not quite round the neck – but as near as dammit. I was getting nowhere with this train of thought.

Second theory – a Holy Presence or Religious figure? Some sort of shrivelled Mahatma Gandhi perhaps. Did he look Indian?  He did a bit. Should I offer him a vegetarian meal and ply him with searching questions?  At this thought he glared at me – no perhaps not.  Maybe he just wanted peace but what sort of peace would he attain from sitting on my shoulder?  Most people might be glad to be thought of as a ‘Chosen One’.  I wasn’t.

I waited for the old man to speak but he didn’t.  I ceased to look into the mirror and tried to pretend the man did not exist. But my shoulder still felt the weight of his little body.

On the same day that I discovered the man, I decided to walk to work to give the man an opportunity to jump off.  He might just decide that his transport was a little jerky and the scenes of backstreets in the east of London not exactly the sort of holy area he was aspiring to. I tried to fake trips on loose paving stones to frighten him and also made a point of treading in rubbish or dog mess en route.  However I failed to unglue him from his perch. 

When I reached my workplace I wiped the dog mess from my shoes and went into my office.  The computer was turned on and the little man reached forward and turned it off again.  Sarah, the junior brought me in a cup of coffee and the man promptly snatched it and drank it in one gulp.  Ah, so it was games he wanted to play?  Finally he let me keep the computer on but I could sense his disapproval. Also weirdly, my eyes kept wandering over to the plant pot in the corner, where a plant had suddenly come over all triffid-like and appeared to be shuffling across the floor towards me. Was the old man causing this phenomena?  Did it want to eat me? My brain conjured up an epitaph to be used on my gravestone.  Here lies Walter Smith’s best hat and left thumb.  I knew the left thumb would not get eaten as it was riddled with some infection I’d contracted recently. The plant got close to my desk and held out a leaf that looked discoloured.  It’s threatening manner disappeared as it drooped over my desk. 

It was then that the man spoke. ‘It’s thirsty,’ he said.

I had never taken much notice of the plant before.  The cleaner had brought it in as a present for me just before she left the company,  as a gesture of goodwill, even though my complaints about her cleaning abilities had got her fired. I got up from my desk and gave the plant some water. 

At lunchtime, I went to the canteen and bought a ham sandwich, which the old man promptly scoffed leaving me only a few crumbs.  Was this charade going to continue?  Was he going to continue to feast himself on my food and drink? If so, then he would ultimately have no shoulder left to ride upon.  The unusual epitaph was coming nearer.

At five o’ clock, the old man decided to be helpful and cleared my desk for me.  Hmm. I guessed he just wanted to get home. 

I walked home, ever the optimist, still hoping he would jump and met Bill Passmore, the guy who had shared my office up until recently. 

“Hi Bill, how you doing?”

“Not too bad – bit depressed.  The infection is getting worse.  It’s spread to my legs now.  Sores are coming up all over.  Some parts are being eaten away. I reckon I haven’t got long to live.”

“Shouldn’t you be in hospital or locked away somewhere?” Sympathy had never been my strong point.

“Probably, I haven’t been to the doctor. Don’t like doctors.  If your time’s up your time’s up that’s what I always say. By the way Walter can’t help noticing your left thumb.  Looks like you may have caught my infection.”

The old man hissed in my ear, “Forget your own troubles, ask Bill if you can help him in any way?”

But I couldn’t forget – I had just been given a death sentence.

“Course it might just be nothing, just an allergy,” smiled Bill apologetically.  “Hope I didn’t alarm you Walter.”

I ignored those last words and rushed away from Bill, anxious not to witness his death throes that I might be replicating in the near future.

At home depression took hold of me big time.  I would not cook a meal, much to the old man’s annoyance.  His stomach rumbled into my left ear until it was time for bed. 

In the morning, I phoned into work sick as my thumb looked much worse and I was on the verge of opening a bottle of pills and downing them in one gulp, unless of course the old man wanted to down them first. I would have to buy another lot then.

“Don’t want to prolong the agony?” queried the old man as I dressed in my best clothes.  I surveyed my reflection and his in the full length mirror in my bedroom. He looked grumpier than ever.

“No,” I said. A revelation hit me. “And I know who you are now, you’re Death aren’t you?”

He shook his head and removed himself from my shoulder.  “Look” he said, “that infection you have is not life threatening but your own sour disposition might soon be your undoing. Just like the neglected plant in your office that was dying, your own lack of humanity will result in you withering away.  Lack of giving love, results in lack of receiving love. Love feeds us.”

“Well, it didn’t feed you,” I responded, “My ham sandwich fed you.”

“That’s because you had nothing else to offer.”

I stopped listening to him then and left him in the bedroom while I sat in the living room watching television. 

There was a heavy sigh in the background. “So many problems meeting up with your Conscience late in life. Wonder if I’ll ever get through to him now.”

I could vaguely hear his voice then but I wasn’t quite sure if I had heard correctly. My Conscience, how preposterous!  Thing was though I’d noticed that the last time I’d viewed us both in the mirror,  our faces looked exactly the same...
Sometimes grief is beyond tears.

Words drifted about the place where Lily was being buried but they either fell into the soft earth or faded into insignificance in the glimmer of the pale afternoon sun. They failed to reach Jean despite the sadness they evoked, unlike any deaths she had experienced before. She wondered why this was so.

Deaths of friends were not uncommon to someone of Jean’s age – she was eighty-two. She had attended all the funerals, listened to litanies of praise and poignant eulogies stretching from past to present and beyond – way into a future she would never reach – she had dutifully thumbed hymn sheets and given hoarse renditions of the hymns, that conveyed her pent up emotion. She had cried copious tears. She had followed the five stages of grief to the letter – almost bound by ‘rules’ that were given in books as guidelines to help the bereaved. Yet, inwardly she now acknowledged there were no ‘rules’.

Actually she felt numb. She looked to the trees swaying in a gentle summer breeze beyond Lily’s grave and felt inclined to sway with them, hoping to induce some kind of meditational breakthrough to a place where her grief sat. At the moment it was caged behind her ribs, close to her heart yet not touching it.

A year passed.

Now and then Jean’s grief moved. Yet it was not acknowledged. Hardly surprising, as since it had never fully touched her heart, no tears could come. True there was a sort of heaviness inside Jean that made her daily tasks laborious and something indefinable that separated her from the rest of the world but the weight and separation appeared to be necessary almost as if it were a punishment.

Jean read more books. Mostly about bereavement still. She became a regular visitor to her library and made friends with a young girl aged no more than eighteen years and found herself confiding in her. The young girl was a good listener. Jean looked forward to visiting the library just to talk with Melinda.

Not long after Jean’s last visit to the library there was a knock at her door.. There stood Melinda with the sun shining so brightly behind her, it lit her up like an angel. In her hand was a large basket. Wordlessly, Melinda reached into the basket and withdrew a beautiful white kitten, which she held out to Jean.

The kitten was as white as Lily had been black and had the same penetrating eyes, the same long whiskers and bushy tail – and the same tiny squeak that tried to be a miaow.

Jean nodded and smiled as tears formed in her eyes. She had found the solution to her trapped grief. Joy was the answer. And Joy became the name of her new friend.
I sought not treasures in a chest
or fortune gained from some behest.
My parents said life was a test,
when I asked them for a friend.

I played with stacks of toys so high
they reached a rainbow in the sky.
More toys came – I wondered why.
All I wanted was a friend.

I ate the sweets and candy bars.
I watched the moon and touched the stars.
I flew to Jupiter and Mars,
searching for a friend.

I could not learn from dusty books,
gained adults disapproving looks.
I hid in secret garden nooks
and hoped to find a friend.

A little cat it came to stay
God must have heard my prayer that day.
My parents said it ran away.
I still waited for a friend.

My parents wanted to protect.
My thoughts, my every action checked
They home schooled me – my life was wrecked,
It felt near to the end.

But then one day at age of ten
adopted from a home came Ken.
My parents smiled and they said then
“It’s time you had a friend.”
Waiting for a friend
An adopted child with very protective parents - cossetted, given lots of toys and sweets but nothing could make up for lack of a friend.  Even the little stray cat was banished from the house for fear it might scratch or infect the child. For many years the parents placed the child in a glass bubble, observing and keeping the child from harm. This is pure fiction.
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Ugliness appeared before her,
empty but its gaze implored her.
What was this misshaped monstrous thing
that wore fine clothes fit for a king?
Conjured from an ancient spell?
No way that she could surely tell.
This thing professed that it was good
yet crows would eat it, if they could,
that dragons would breathe fire upon
or simply flee or turn to stone.
And all but she would turn away
to see this face in light of day.

Did it crawl once on the ground?
Did it make a braying sound?
Did it come from sullied earth?
Should it have been drowned at birth?
Was it a joke, a curse, a prank?
a hunch of bones whose spine was lank?
Did it come from some locked room
hidden always in the gloom?
fed by those with eyes averted
from the floor with feces dirtied,
from its eyes, sunken and red,
from depth of sorrow, yet tears unshed
from moaning, groaning from its soul,
from facial features of a troll,
from all the kindness lingering
in the heart of something withering?

And yet somehow ‘it’ became free
and found his place so rightfully
within a palace left to him,
by royal blood, his royal kin.
He swathed himself in silks so fine,
a crown upon his head did shine,
his bearing noble, his head held high
declaring love – he couldn’t lie.

Beauty looked into his face
and sudden did her heartbeat race,
his eyes were looking into her;
she reached out and she stroked his fur.
He took her hand and placed a ring,
as bluebirds circled on the wing,
as flowers bloomed in castle grounds
and air was filled with heavenly sounds –
an Angel Song of Joyous Rhyme
that blessed them both for all of time...

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shelleypalmer's Profile Picture
shelleypalmer
Sheila Palmer
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United Kingdom
A divorcee living with my son in North London. Loving humour and magic. In the past I wrote a column in Haunted Digital Magazine, and have written two children's books.

My dream is for a book or books to appear on bookshelves. All of those published so far are print-on-demand. This is because I have no patience to await agents' or publishers' replies - been that route and anyhow probably no chance because I haven't (a) murdered anyone (yet, though I have a few in mind!) or (b) have celebrity status or (c) smuggled drugs inadvertently and then been imprisoned in some Thailand jail for the past 20 odd years.

One of the books which illlustrates perfectly my naughty schoolboy/schoolgirl type of humour is: Mad Magda's Naughty Adult Fairy Tales - this is not erotica, though I think the books may have sold better if they had've been! No not my style, just very rude and full of innuendo.

www.amazon.com/Mad-Magdas-Naug…

A Journey in the Mind of the Goblin from Zo - my magical children's book
www.amazon.co.uk/A-Journey-Min…

www.feedaread.com/books/The-Se…
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:iconfaewning:
Faewning Featured By Owner 1 day ago  New Deviant Hobbyist Writer
Thanks so much for the fave, dear! :heart:
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:iconanashadowwolf:
AnaShadowWolf Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hii!!! 
I wanted to thank you for the fave in my poem!!! :happybounce:  It means a lot to me that you liked it!!!! Thanks!!!

I hope you'll like my future poems, too!!!

Once again, thanks so much!!! Glomp!
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:iconserendiipitii:
Serendiipitii Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for the support :rose:
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:iconkittysib:
KittySib Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the fave!:D
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:iconsupach:
Supach Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Many thanks  for the :star:'s dear friend it´s appreciated :hug:
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:iconsupach:
Supach Featured By Owner May 11, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
+fav +fav +fav +fav Thanks for all your support +fav +fav +fav +fav  :hug:
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:iconshelleypalmer:
shelleypalmer Featured By Owner May 12, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
You are so welcome.  It's just words but if they can help to any degree then that's great because believe me they are sincere, but then you know that. 
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:iconsupach:
Supach Featured By Owner May 12, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Hug 
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:iconurbanfaeri:
urbanfaeri Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank so much for the fave! I hadn't noticed earlier. It really means a lot to me coming from such a wonderful writer as yourself :D
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:iconshelleypalmer:
shelleypalmer Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
You are very welcome
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:iconsupach:
Supach Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh hey a very charming profile photo of you. I like it :D
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:iconshelleypalmer:
shelleypalmer Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you - a selfie taken with the phone my son got me for Xmas - to be honest I'm still getting to grips with it - I've sussed the photos out to some degree but as for the rest it does,  I reckon it might take me a few years yet!
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:iconsupach:
Supach Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Don´t ask me for help I have no idea either :laughing:
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:iconshelleypalmer:
shelleypalmer Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
You would think that because I work on a computer (laptop and two other screens simultaneously incorporating 2 databases and other applications) that I would find anything else easy but I don't. New procedures take me longer to get to grips with than most people I know!  Its reassuring when I come across anyone similar to myself!
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(1 Reply)
:iconlemgras330:
lemgras330 Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2016  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Happy Birthday Shelley!! :party:  :cake:
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:iconshelleypalmer:
shelleypalmer Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you - it came, it went and I feel a little older and a little sillier hence the poem I have just put on!
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:iconlemgras330:
lemgras330 Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2016  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I'm so behind in my DA chores! :hmm:

Just had a birthday on the 30th too, so I know what ya mean. :giggle:
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:iconshelleypalmer:
shelleypalmer Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Happy belated birthday! - I did reply once but it didn't 'take' - I don't always see the birthday reminders as I am not on DA every day. Hope it was a good one!
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(1 Reply)
:iconemily-byrd:
Emily-Byrd Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Happy birthday! :cake: :hug:
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:iconshelleypalmer:
shelleypalmer Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you very much!
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:iconfmrichter:
fmrichter Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2016   Writer
Happy birthday!!
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:iconshelleypalmer:
shelleypalmer Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Nice of you - thanks!
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:iconbornwiththesun:
BornWithTheSun Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Happy Birthday! :)
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:iconshelleypalmer:
shelleypalmer Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you very much!
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:iconbornwiththesun:
BornWithTheSun Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
You are super welcome! :D
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