Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Loneliness


She misses them, the good old days
when men were men,
and women knew their place
and rolled up their sleeves
and did the dishes. 
The houses then full to the brim
of happy hordes of kith and kin,
houses full of warmth and bonhomie,
of grandma hugs, of daddy smiles
and mother’s sweetest purest kisses.

She misses him,
oh she lost him oh so long ago,
him going to wherever tis dead people go,
heaven hell or maybe
just a space beneath the ground,
she can’t remember doesn’t know, 
she only knows she is alone. 

Her *two-up two-down her little narrow street,
city reached out and sucked them in
and how surrounded she by strangers now,
no warmth or love of kith and kin. 
And them,
the strangers that surround her now,
don’t reach out they don’t know how,
and lost she is and all alone
in that barren house she once called home. 

Anna :o]

Paul at dVerse has us writing on the theme of ‘Community.’

It got me thinking of where I live now and where I have lived and I do wonder whether I can define what community is (or means to me), moreso community spirit.   Does any kind of community bring with it cohesiveness, a sense of belonging, and a common goal?  We may think it does but in reality, do we not all have our own agenda?

My memories of the good old days are just that, they were good, for there was a community spirit and the common good meant we looked after and looked out for each other.  This didn’t mean that life was perfect for of course it wasn’t.  But there was always a willing listening ear to share your burden with and you would offer yours too.   I also realise that for many the good old days didn’t exist and that these days were often/mostly bad. 

Where I live now, is there a community spirit?  I don’t think so for we all dwell in our little castles and know little of each other.  Am I party to this lack of community spirit, yes I probably am for I have long given up in trying to change things.  I know my place.  I value solitude but many others don’t and loneliness is all they have.

*Two-up two down: generally a small terraced house built sometime after the industrial revolution.  These dwellings consisted of two downstairs rooms – kitchen & sitting room and two bedrooms upstairs.   The toilet/loo would be in an outhouse in the back yard and baths would be taken in a tin bath somewhere in the house or the backyard itself.  Backyard here means a small concreted area surrounded by high brick walls.

These houses still exist and are modernised by having an extension to the back to create a bathroom and if two storeys high an additional bedroom.  It is sometimes possible to squeeze a bathroom upstairs.

Also shared with the good folk at Toads Tuesday Platform

Image:  Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Author:  Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer

17 comments:

paulscribbles said...

Nicely penned Anna. My Ma and Da had their first house compulsorily purchased by the council who offered them 10% of what they'd paid or a shitty council house.We went to live in a 2 up 2 down with Gran n Grandad for 2 years whilst they saved for a deposit for a new place.Was nuts!!!! Community was different then but I've been lucky to have found places in my life that still are.I lived in a West Yorkshire town for 20 years and the street was a throwback. Front doors open and unlocked and everyone a chatter.
It is still possible and I think lots of folk want it.Thanks for an insoghtful answer to the prompt.

indybev said...

So beautifully written, and so sad. My children were reared on a street where life was still rather Norman Rockwellian. Your thoughts are well taken. Thanks for sharing.

De said...

I love the voice of this. There is longing here that makes my heart ache. Well done.

adcitlali said...

This is beautiful and also rather well written. It makes me feel the sadness, the longing, the memories.

Frank Hubeny said...

It seems we are more alone in our communities today than we were in the past.

Martin Kloess said...

Sadly, I must admit your right. My neighborhood is impressive, but we see the strangers' faces.

Grace said...

How sad to read but agree with you that we seem to be lacking in community spirit now ~ Those were the good old days ~

Thotpurge said...

Yup that was a time when everyone knew everyone...things are different now, better or worse is debatable.

Jim said...

Nice Anna--I recognized that living room as soon as I saw it, Agnes Pelton's. I have several links on my blog, mostly various places she has been recognized with an article in "California Desert Art". I really like this line, "Her *two-up two-down her little narrow street, city reached out and sucked them in and how surrounded she by strangers now, no warmth or love of kith and kin." It reminds us that the closeness of our hood will not return. But one of Angne's neighbors would drive her up into the mountains and foothills and drop her off to paint. He would return before sundown. She never did drive herself.
..

Susie Clevenger said...

So many people as they age are ignored, neglected, unwelcome.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

A very sad and touching picture your poem paints. And then your notes are so interesting, as I never knew the meaning of 'two up two down'.

Kim Russell said...

Very nicely done, Anna! I look back at the 'good old days' and, although it can look cosier in retrospect, I like where I am now - as a woman, a wife, a mother, a writer. No time travel for me, thanks! But I can understand how it must feel in
'Her *two-up two-down her little narrow street,
city reached out and sucked them in
and how surrounded she by strangers now,
no warmth or love of kith and kin'.
I think it was like that for my mum, especially when the dementia set in.

brudberg said...

I love this... I wonder so much if there is a new community and some are just put aside due to changes. I smell gentrification in your poem... and for sure there would be those left excluded without moving.

Magaly Guerrero said...

When we ignore our old, our roots we begin to fade... We can only hope that most of us will notice before it's too late.

P.S. The phrases when "women knew their place" and "men were men" made me cringe a bit. Mostly because they are so often used negatively. I believe that women and men are still just that, times have changed... some things have been lost, some things are better...

Sanaa Rizvi said...

Such poignancy in your poem, Anna. Touched my heart!

kaykuala said...

I know my place. I value solitude but many
others don’t and loneliness is all they have.

You've said it most brilliantly Anna! The tragedy of modern living where even neighbors are strangers. The community spirit is absent unlike before!

Hank

Kathy Reed said...

Our first community is home and the neighborhood we grew up in. We identify with our neighbors, friends, but mostly family. I feel especially sad for people who move or otherwise are thrust into a community they don't want to be or is foreign to them or when loved ones are gone. I've lived in quite a few settings and can adapt, but sometimes it was because I had no choice in the matter. Also, I think it depends on the city..the stage in one's life, other factors.
I think of old folks' homes and how many of them are limited to just that community at assisted living facilities....life changes, and feeling lonely is very painful. Living alone and a solitary life can be fulfilling....go figure.