Taking refuge


A cello weeps through the closing
door and I can leave.  I flag down the bus,
don’t look  up when the Polish driver
makes a joke I  barely hear.
I sit alone, with everything crossed,
in an inconspicuous seat,
watching a single drop of rain
dribble a path beside me at this window.

Only then, do I look on the mouths
who move with notes so foreign
they would twist my tongue.
And on the chests who rise to steal
the very air that would fill my lungs.
And on the arms, which lift me,
cradle me and let me

rest.  The cello weeps beside
one thousand strings.  And
I float on your river of smiles
to find myself home.


This poem was inspired by a competition to write for the Proms season.  I listened to a lot of Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor to write this.  I don’t have a musical knowledge to fall back on -but I can still write in repsonse to music.

At the time, Brexit was in the news with the rhetoric of ‘them’ and ‘us’, whoever them and us were.  I couldn’t see it – all I saw were people, human beings, some with great lives, some with easy lives, but many with lives that they have that take a lot of juggling.   And then there are some with such tragic lives that it would be easy to turn from in fear that it might one day it might be your life too.

And yet sometimes those with those tragic lives of which we are afraid, have the most to share with others.

©Jacqui Thatcher 2016

(Image credit:  Mark Ramsay)


You can’t turn it back,
unbake the cake,
ungrind the flour,
unharvest the grain,
or make the chicken unlay her eggs.
You can’t turn it back,
unrefine the sugar,
resow the cane
or unchurn the butter,
or better still
unmilk the cow.

You can’t unmake it, once it’s done.
Once it’s done, it’s something else.

But these are only words.  Like love.
Like love which beckons me to follow behind,
through scented streets and perfumed paths
and halts me at the baker’s with a knowing smile.
And as I melt on drifts of cinnamon and ginger,
and as I protest that I have love, that I have you,
that one tiny crumb on parted lips
leaves me yearning.

So then there were questions, your “hows?”, and “whys?”
I could have said I didn’t know.  I could have said
anything to let you off, to let the mice nibble
at your love for me til there was nothing left.
But there was one thing he had that you didn’t.
He had the recipe to unbake all this.
He had the recipe to make it his.

© Jacqui Thatcher 2016

(Featured image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/philou46/)