so we are tangled
fine silk on metal
– a heavy dew and cool breath
I think I am strong
but then I ‘m proved wrong
I get stabbed in the back
I thought I could trust
but that crumbled to dust
I was alone all along
I became a shadow
but that was wrong too
I stepped out from the shade
my shadow is me
I am not my shadow
The man standing behind the Queen mother is my grandfather. He was in the Queen’s Bays 2nd Dragoon Guards with the British Army and, as far as I know, never came back from the war leaving behind a wife and six children. He never knew his grandchildren.
Family stories are sparse and spattered. Little remnants of history passed down lodged in the back of the mind but vague. I have lots of pictures but not so much knowledge.Things remain unspoken of, details left out and only some stories survive the march of time. I heard things said that I was not meant to hear I was told things I pretended I had never heard. No family is blameless and the secrets and histories are written nowhere just whispered in the wind.
I was told, ‘ you can never know everything’ but who chooses what you know and what you don’t ? Who selects the snippets that lodge in your mind and become distorted with time? Photographs reveal only a small snatch of a person’s life, an event that someone thought to snap and capture for posterity.
I don’t swear. I don’t use swear words. They just don’t pass my lips. I cannot blaspheme.
This does not mean that maybe I would like to. I get angry at times,extremely so at other times. I stub my toes, I catch my head on open cupboard doors and people cut across me in traffic but I don’t swear.For some reason I have always found ways of expressing my anger and swearing is not one of them. I suppose I am talking about the four letter words that I don’t even want to type. I will say damn and that is as extreme as it gets.
I was brought up not to swear and I never heard my parents use bad language but I went to a local Scottish school where a fair amount of the children quite happily used the f*** word in every other sentence and plenty of other expletives too. (‘bend it bend it, double it and send it’ was used whilst bending the first for-finger then ending up in the v sign waved in your face). I was always too shy and polite to ever curse or swear.
I am not against people swearing but people who use the f-word in any story they tell confounds me a little. They may be trying to emphasize a point but I just want to roll my eyes.
No doubt it is to do with upbringing the amount of bad language you use. I think the rest of my family find it easier to swear so I think I may be a bit extreme in my lack of use of strong language but at the same time I don’t really feel I am missing out. I suppose in my school days I may have felt a little feeble that I couldn’t resort to foul language on occasion but it doesn’t bother me now. Swear words sound silly when I say them so I don’t bother.
Walking through a shopping centre with my daughter we passed a young mother with a pram and two wee kids. She very loudly swore at one of them to ‘f***ing move (or get in the pram or something)’. Both my daughter and I turned and looked in shock as it seemed so aggressive and my daughter said ‘My God!’ The lady must have heard and yelled at us ‘Just keep your opinions to yourself’ (no swearing at us). We wondered on the way home what language she resorted to when the children did something really bad.
I can’t help thinking that strong language should be saved for the rare occasions when an extreme situation calls for it and it can have the impact that it should. But that is just me.
Here is a poem that did the school rounds once in my childhood.
‘Bloody’s in the bible, bloody’s in the book
if ye dinnae bloody believe me
take a bloody look!
To swear or not to swear, what do you think?
I remember reading as a child
about how a princess
with a small coin that hung around her neck at night
blocked out the shape by holding it up
but the light was still there bright in her room
often we are caught
the road to freedom
a soft web
encases around the whole
and as with quicksand
the more the struggle the tighter the grasp
the spider sits in the corner
the small entity rushes in to be trapped
surrounded and caught amongst
silken threads stronger than they look
belying their own delicacy
a torn kite
string hanging down out of reach
indicating angry gusts
and the fabric of the toy is forever hooked up high on wires that buzz
as we are often caught
unaware of our predicament
until we try to wriggle and walk and step out