Greta Rana MBE


Nothing Personal

The child
It is nothing personal:
remembrances of cold winter
afternoons, dead ashes in the grate,
greasy dishes in the sink. Islands
in the grey-blue suds' water
waiting for the beached boat
of frozen, ash-worn hands.
It was nothing personal.
Work-worn mother lode
leaning on a child, schooled
to obey: weary, cold away,
far from the one hearthfire
where green spirits danced
in flames, warming
small, chapped knees.
All yesterdays
are in these hands,
all seasons of discontent
engraved into their veins.
It was nothing personal,
nothing personal at all.


Leaving home
Gone, the pebble on the beach
swallowed by acres of soft sand.
All smooth now, unrippled surface
of daily concerns burying you.
You are part of a collective memory
existing only if the past, recalled,
should emerge choking from seas
of heavier affairs; milk frozen
on the doorstep, the dustcart missed
our house, and in the bathroom
a water pipe leaks. You share
a space cherished by them
for important matters: bills
that must be paid. The mechanics
of modern living vanquish the child
who leaves home, nothing personal.


The end
In the end it will call you
in a time of wizened leaves,
parched with the skin of old age.
In the end you will remember
the seed smell of yesterday
to which you owe your space.
'Blood is thicker than water'
and the blood lays heavy claims
on the heart. What passed between
is no more solid than a moonbeam:
an enchanted hour seduced
out of the hope chest of the world.
Home, womb, Om, the one :
they will call you in the end.
It's nothing personal.