for Thomas Thorpe, 1932–2022
The last few weeks were a blur of staccato calls,
spotty connections – the unseen menace still
dominating the air. All plans to meet
to talk about your book of verse
were always deferred.
On the phone I spouted inspirational clichés –
Tomorrow is yet another gift handed to us,
The precious hours brim with possibilities.
Life – a cluster of choices beaded
on strings between sunup and sundown.
You listened to all my philosophising,
you who were so much wiser,
with half a century more in footfalls on this realm
than my vociferous self.
How we rise and welcome each day
never really knowing how many grains remain
in the fragile throats of our hourglasses –
how they trickle down in haste,
unstopping, for unspoken goodbyes.
Now you are gone –
and your unfinished manuscript lies
on your study table, sheaves of papers clamouring
in a chorus of words, visuals –
a motley collage, waiting,
to be bound and christened a book.
And I must cauterise my loss, yoke
this beauty together, send it out
into the world, with the form and the fullness
And now I must do it while holding
a you-shaped void in my heart.
Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad is an artist, poet and improv pianist living in Sydney. She is a chief editor for the literary journal Authora Australis and member of Sydney’s North Shore Poetry Project. Her art and poetry have been published in a number of print and online journals and anthologies, and she was the winner of the Moon Prize awarded by the journal Writing in a Woman’s Voice. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and her art for the Best of the Net Journal. Oormila, has her own poetry page here.
Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to email@example.com. Submissions should be in the body of the email, not as attachments. A poetry book will be awarded to each accepted contributor.