Man in a raincoat
plain? dull? His face obscured, head bent. Back sloped into the wind & rain.
He walks – strides ahead. Or attempts to, move forward. Is he trying to – prove, something?
Would I choose a life ordinary, out of habit? His coat is like the raincoat my father wore. Every day. As he walked, down the lane – away from us. to that safe place.
Years later – it was his dream. His promise to that child of me – a solid start! A beginning.
Suits and polished shoes, a case in hand. One day – four walls of my own to contain, my family. And then I would pay our bills.
Is that all? All that waits, in the stretched years. That I can reach as far as I can dream – is that the MOST – I can achieve?
What of travel! And art! Romance that hurts and fails, leaves me pale & sick, oh troubled heart! Soul filling pain that I will then draw upon.
I paint. I paint! He knows… a child’s hobby, dismissed.
Covered and packed away, in the attic, in boxes. I feel them above, pressing down.
And yet, our eyes meet – his tired and considered; mine wild with youth & pride. I feel passion slink away like an embarrassed friend, clambering over the wall – it’s too late.
He hands me the card. He nods. Agreed. It seems. I feel my life in my hand, between my fingertips, gilt edged, firm, straight.
And I see the man in the painting, from the hall – head down into the rain, he must walk.
In his damp grey morning raincoat
and that man is me.
by Elizabeth Haley-Wood ~
a poem about forced responsibility perhaps, against personal desire. Do we all fall into that trap? Maybe so. But there’s always an escape hatch – look!