Tuesday Poem: Leaving

By the time you read this I'll be on yet another plane or possibly a train, heading back to a very soggy northern England for a few days of hectic problem-solving, as well as the funeral of a very close friend.   All this displacement from one country to another, week after week, creates a kind of time-shift in your head and sometimes your whole life seems unreal - one of those deja-vu experiences.  I wrote this attempt to capture the feeling on a bus somewhere on the border between Poland and Slovakia last week.


.......   isn't easy.  This non-stop journey
that your life's become, the suitcase
waiting on the bed, the post-it notes;
switch off, pull out the plugs, the TV
aerial, turn off the heating, taps,
dump rubbish, water the plants, push
keys through a letter box, and leave behind
a room un-tenanted, you might
one evening return to, whose stale
scent echoes in your memory
as soon as you re-open the door,
no bread, sour milk in the fridge,
dried petals on the table from the bare
stalks of the roses you forgot to throw,
the unfamiliar furniture, the closed books
with their backs towards this stranger
eavesdropping on a former existence.

© Kathleen Jones 2012

Please take a look at what the other Tuesday Poets are posting at the Tuesday Poem hub.  A wonderful variety of poetry from around the world.


  1. Lovely poem. A similar feel to "not saying goodbye at gate 21"
    I suppose it stems from similar emotion.

  2. The listing of tasks (love the post-it note idea!) and the alien landscape of the environment that you return to really speaks volumes to the sense of 'strangeness' that comes with so much movement. The rejection of the books - backs turned to you - has such wit to it! Loved it. Thanks for sharing a snippet of your hectic life through poetry, Kathleen :)

  3. I so feel for you in this poem - the whole pulling up roots and moving - it seems so hard...
    "the closed books
    with their backs towards this stranger"
    So understated. So sad.

  4. It does you credit that you are so flexible as to be able to move around as you have been. Have done a bit of that myself lately and am very good at digging in and adjusting to new ways...the returning can feel like a backward step. It's a lovely poem says it all. Love this bit
    'and leave behind
    a room un-tenanted, you might
    one evening return to, whose stale
    scent echoes in your memory'
    Good luck with that but I can imagine that the roses will be quickly replaced and the milk...

  5. Thanks for all your lovely comments. Am making friends with my UK books again at the moment, but not digging too far in because I'm about to uproot myself again! Hey ho......

  6. The looming sadness and the disconnect is really palpable here. And yes, that last line says it all -- because there is such busy-ness in leaving (all those tasks) but then also what's left is a sense of air/space/memory -- that former existence you capture so well.


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