“The mirror that holds my enemy”
he wrote.
She’s transported back in time,
sees another young man
holding onto the bathroom basin,
head hanging,
tears silently coursing through the lather.
“I can’t shave” he wails
“I can’t bear to look
into the eyes
of the stranger
in the mirror”.
Her arms instinctively reach out
offering comfort
to her long dead son.

Tricia 10/2013

Inspired by the poem Rivers of Tears from the blog

About triciabertram

I have written all my life. Writing helps me to make sense of a world I often don’t understand. Poetry is my supreme solace, closely followed by literature and music. When my son ended his life in 1999 I embarked on the most difficult journey of my life, my grief journey. To survive in this unknown, harsh landscape I had to write. It was for me, the only way I could even begin to move forward. Then in 2009 my darling husband died suddenly and so my journey continues. I write about other issues but because of my life experience, grief and death are continuing themes in my writing life. In our culture I believe there is a fear of death, an inability to accept the inevitability of our mortality, and this creates enormous difficulties for the bereaved and those around them. I have begun this blog in the hope I will create a small ripple in the pond of fear that is currently drowning the reality of death and grief. I will continue to skim the stones of my truth, watch them bounce, and see how many ripples I can make.

Posted on October 19, 2013, in Poems. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. inbetweenthemadness

    Im so sorry my poem brought these memories back, but im guessing they are never far from your mind anyway. A truly emotive write and i am honoured to be mentioned as a source for your writing of this piece. Thank you for sharing.

    • No need to be sorry. My memories, happy and sad, are precious to me. You gave me a gift, for a moment I re experienced holding and comforting my son. I remembered the warmth and the sticky feel of the lather on my shoulder as I held him. Thank you.

  2. This affected me deeply – a painful and precious moment perfectly preserved.


  3. Tricia, some of your poems feel more raw to me than others and this one rates high on the scale. But although that is how it leaves me feeling, I am comforted by the knowledge that you treasure the bad memories equally as well as the good ones. It doesnt dilute the rawness I feel though.

    Love and big hugs

    • Christine, this one was a gift for me because for a moment I felt again the warmth of my son as I comforted him, even the stickiness of his shaving cream on my neck felt real – just for a moment.
      Much love to you my friend.
      Tricia xoxo

  4. What an incredibly powerful image you’ve given me of your son staring at the “enemy” in the mirror. What strikes me is his awareness he was being swallowed up by the depression. Even if his words were more figurative than literal, he realized there was a battle going on inside him and he couldn’t fight it any more. I went over to “inbetweenthemadness” and read his very clear description of what “loss of hope” looks like/feels like. It has to be truly suffocating. I think you must be sharing your memories and putting your experiences in words so that you can survive, but in doing so, you do give others (me) a way to at least partially understand. And I don’t know a soul who isn’t connected to a friend or family member with some level of mental illness. And we need to be reminded of what their hell looks like, so we can love without judgment. I send a hug, Tricia. I am always so glad to see your name in my inbox…and yet every time I click “like” I think, “God we need another way let you know you’re appreciated.” It’s really a rough word. Like? Oh well…you know. ox

    • My dear Debra, thank you so much for your moving, affirming words. You have great insight and empathy. I’m sorry I’ve been such a poor correspondent of late and am so grateful that you ‘stick with me’. Your comments mean so much to me.
      I’m pleased you read River of Tears by inbetweenthemadness. He is a powerful, gifted poet. The first time I read it, it took my breath away. I felt I could be reading my son’s words. I think this young man will impact on many people.
      I realise you follow a lot of blogs bit I think you might also enjoy pookypoetry.wordpress.com As well as her mental health poems, Pooky writes wonderful poems for her 3 year old daughters that, even though they’re a little older, I think your grandchildren might enjoy.
      Take care my friend
      Tricia xo

  5. The memories you get from the simplest actions. Good piece!

    • Pooky, I’m deeply moved that a poetic circle is forming around the powerful, Rivers of Tears. I too, hope others will read the poem and write about what it brings up for them. For me that’s one of the wonders of poetry, it can touch our tender spots, our happy places, move us in ways we couldn’t have imagined.
      I’ve left comments on your blog re your poem. xo

      • It’s a hugely powerful poem – I love how each person can take away something different and respond in their unique way.

      • Pooky, I too love the encompassing power of his poem. He is a gifted young man.
        A Mr Catsoe left a quote, I think on the introductory page of your blog, by someone who wrote under the name Irving GFM
        “I’m only responsible for what I say..Not for what you understand”
        This really speaks to me about how poetry can move people in many different ways.

      • Absolutely. I am growing to love the fact that once you press publish your words are not yours any more. It’s so interesting seeing the different responses from different people.

  6. I keep coming back to this. It’s mesmerising.

  7. I’ve done it again, Pooky, made a comment dissapear. I’m gifted that way. The above comment is in response to a comment you made that has gone on holiday, flying away through the ether. 🙂

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