My Soul in Ashes

I cannot write – and though I’ve tried all night

The words remain elusive;

Picking out a sentence here and there

What does a sentence matter?

I hear the wind outside, I hear

The low pitched moaning of a stray

And as the curtains flutter…….

I cannot write.

In the silent streets leaves

Trip up and down

But die without remonstrance in the gutter.

On my way downstairs I tip-toe

Stealthy,  like a thief,

But somehow time for feminine discretion’s disappeared

And each unpainted step creaks wildly

As I wrap my scarf around.

A sordid little scene in his back bedroom;

I know it isn’t for the pleasure that I go – dull

Lanky girls like me take outlets

Lovely girls need never dream of ….

Arranging quiet meetings is a trouble;

Unless you’ve whispered times on launderette phones

You cannot know how hard it is to be impervious

When ladies prick their ears.

I could not have guessed that life would come

To this – grease in my hair

And ladders in my tights;

No one to get in touch or ask me how I am

No one for me to ring or pass the time,

No letters waiting on the threadbare carpet

A one room bed-sit, poky, badly lit;

If my mother could only see me now

If my father had an inkling – but they don’t –

And can’t and I won’t spill the beans

About this seamy small existence in a forgotten town;

And I won’t describe abortions carried out

By smug young doctors who lectured and reproved

And talked of dread diseases….such a dirty girl.

Not a girl now daddy – more like a freak who hangs out

Where all those nasty men wait for the pleasure

Of a cheap,  disgusting thrill

To pay my rent and buy my next lipstick.

A garish anguished stare into the mirror,

Disarray of hair and worry lines

I don’t see ever much beyond the morrow;

Footsteps at the door, nicotine on his fingers,

Gold-capped tooth,

Next week’s bread and gin – and note book –

A syphilitic cough:

Our lives entwined for twenty sweaty minutes;

My soul in ashes on the bedroom floor…..


( I didn’t really know where to post this but if it should be elsewhere feel free to let me know. ) ( Ps – this is not my autobiography – with respect to ‘ladies of the night’! )


About jan2

I live in England.

Posted on October 21, 2006, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. This is the perfect place for you to post this Jan. The Abbey and Riversleigh are sanctuaries where folk need follow no particular thread.

    And I found this intense and deeply moving – the last line hitting me in the solar plexus.

  2. You have painted a desperate Fantine in verse, very good poem.


  3. An excellent poem… so powerful, gut wrenching.


  4. such powerful words, cutting deep into the soul…well done, great orchestration, thank you for sharing, loved it!


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