As If…

Inspiration for entries into the Blog Hop Contest

Photo by Luis Beltran

He was muttering as if
he was trying to describe
a vision he couldn’t share
with her; with anyone.
It was of something he’d never
seen before this moment;
a moment when she saw a look
on his face that carried away
all her fears; all her tears.
She felt no longer worried,
no longer afraid of the future;
only afraid that she could not
see what he could see;
this apparition, the vision
that transformed his face
to serenity, to happiness,
that even they in all their life
together, had never seen.
Something beautiful that
he could clearly see,

but not she.

Then, she, involuntarily
felt angry, full of rage
a sudden torrent of emotion
filled and puffed her tear-strewn face
As if he’d been unfaithful;
as if he would desert her;
after all these years.
How could he do that!

As if…

…something changed,
not in him, but her;
she felt what he was seeing,
that illuminated his face as if…
…and now she was incredulous.
She could not now believe
what he was thinking, seeing…
could not, would not entertain
the thoughts that entered her;
thoughts she could not fight;
that flowed so unexpectedly
like snow drifts in a storm
a snow filled wind
of blinding light;
of cool refreshing crystals
looking like white flowers;
a sea, an ocean of stocks.
And out of this there grew
the tallest trees of evergreen
protecting all beneath
their heavenly canopy.

As if.

Then he fell very still
relieved of his exertions,
of trying to tell her
all that he could see
and it was very quiet.

They’d dreamt for all their days
of this idea of heaven
a screen to pull down over
their lifelong view..

..of Bantar Gebang.

With her tears she washed
his calm closed eyes.


This poem was intended to be an entry into the “Blog Hop” but it was too late. So here it is anyway. It was prompted firstly by the inspirational photograph above it and secondly by a programme I watched on Sunday evening, on BBC2 television, called “The Toughest Place to Be“. This link may not work for long, but it is a programme well worth watching, if for no other reason than to remind us of how fortunate we are in the affluent west. If you think, on the one hand, you have some complaint about the effect on your finances of the economic downturn, or, on the other, you’ve got some boxes to tick before you leave this mortal coil – maybe these involve travelling to see a few wonders of the world – as you make your plans, think about these ‘workers’ who are as good as destitute and trapped in poverty, in the kind of stomach churning stench that this environment presents; trapped not only for their own lifetime, but also the future for their children…

Workers scraping a living from the massive landfill site an hour east of Jakarta

Bantar Gebang - Courtesy Mark Tipple

(This photo taken by Mark Tipple for an article publish in ‘Demotix‘ in February 2009)

I’ve read about organisations that are working to change things. No doubt the major ones, like UNICEF, who are concerned particularly about the plight of children in these conditions, and like the International Labour Organisation trying to set up schools for the children, who have to live and start working in these places at all too young an age. If there’s anything we can do, at the very least, it is to raise the consciousness of anyone and everyone, who should care about the inhuman effects of economic ‘progress’ and exploitation.

© 2012 John Anstie

About PoetJanstie

“Life is short and art long, the crisis fleeting, experience penniless and decision difficult” ~ Hippocrates. As a young man, John was sporting and fit. It was then as much his recreational therapy as a cappella harmony singing, music, walking in the hills and writing is now. Playing Rugby Union for over twenty years, encouraged in the early days by a school that was run on the same lines and ethos as that famous Scottish public school, Gordonstoun, where our own headmaster had been as a senior master. This gave shape and discipline to a sometimes precarious early life. His fitness was enhanced not only by playing rugby, but also by working part time jobs in farming, as a leather factory packer and security guard, but probably not helped, for a short time, selling ice cream! His professional working life was spent as a Metallurgical Engineer, Marketing Manager, Export Sales Manager, Implementation Manager and Managing Director of his own company. Thirty five years spent, apparently in a creative desert, raising a family, pursuing a career and helping to pay the bills, probably enriched his experience, because his renaissance, on retirement, realised a hidden creative talent as a writer of prose and poetry. He also enjoys music, with a piano and a fifty-two year old Yamaha FG140 acoustic guitar. He sings bass in three a cappella harmony groups: as a founding member of a mixed voice chamber choir, Fox Valley Voices and barbershop quartets. He is also a member of one of the top barbershop choruses in the UK, Hallmark of Harmony (stage name of the Sheffield Barbershop Harmony Club), who, for the eighth time in 41 years, became UK Champions in 2019. He is also a would be (once upon a time or 'has been') photographer with drawers full of his own history, and an occasional, but lapsed 'film' maker. In his other life, he doubles as a Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother, Uncle, Cousin, Friend and Family man. What he writes is sometimes autobiographical, often political, sometimes dark and frequently pins his colours to the mast of climate change and how a few humans are trashing the Earth. In 2013, he published an anthology of the poetry (including his own) of an international group of poets, who met on Twitter in 2011. He produced, edited and steered the product of this work, "Petrichor Rising", to publication by Aquillrelle. His sort of strap-line reads: “ iWrite iSing iDance iChi iVolunteer ”
This entry was posted in Death, emotion, Free Verse, Hope, Love, melancholy, poem, poetry, sadness. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to As If…

  1. Laurie Kolp says:

    We have so much to be grateful for. Thanks for this thought-provoking piece… poem, photos and info!

    Liked by 1 person

    • PoetJanstie says:

      Thank you for visiting, Laurie. Yes I’m afraid that, in spite of a plethora of life type things that seem to be getting in the way of creativity this year, some things move me deeply.


  2. eden baylee says:

    Sorry John, forgot to say your poem obviously affected me. Great writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. eden baylee says:

    By the grace of God, good fortune, luck, or whatever you want to call it, you or I could be living in those horrible conditions. Everyday, I’m reminded that life is not fair. Some are born into poverty, some die young from disease, and some rich, mean selfish and ungenerous sod dies at the ripe old age of 100 and leaves all his money to his cats.


    Liked by 1 person

    • PoetJanstie says:

      Trust you to hit the nail on the head from a different angle, Eden. But hit it you did and smacked us in the eye with it. Spot on, M’am! The first step has to be that we recognise how lucky we are and how some never acknowledge the luck of their birth; as if they had a compassion bye-pass!

      Thank you for, as ever, giving me your valuable time and comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Martin says:

    Good that you point to this conditions. But the poem is much more universal in my eyes. I’m happy to have taken the time to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • PoetJanstie says:

      Martin, thanks for commenting on the poem and apologies for the delay in response; your comment got stuck in the ‘pending bin’ for reasons unknown to me. However, many thanks for you visit.


  5. marousia says:

    Beautiful poem John – I have nominated you for a Liebster Award

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: A Lovely Award « Marousia

  7. peterwilkin says:

    Incredibly moving & thought-provoking poem, John. I watched the programme too & can see how it inspired you to write. Sincere thanks to you for both.

    Liked by 1 person

    • PoetJanstie says:

      Fantastic praise, Peter, thank you. And sorry your comment got stuck in the ‘to be approved pile” for some unknown reason; others went straight in. Pretty random. Belated big thanks all the same.


  8. Louise says:

    We do take so much for granted here in the West…we are lucky that there is a safety net to rely on (mostly) …I can’t imagine what it must be like. For these people, it’s totally about survival. So pleased the picture helped inspire you…you’re never wasting time when writing poetry. Well written and well said, John.


    • PoetJanstie says:

      It’s so true, how we develop a reliance on the support systems we are brought up with, We are all products of our own specific environments, but, you know, I think I can imagine what it would be like to be Imam, a bin-man, in Jakarta; almost always smiling and soldiering on each and every very long day. How desperately unfair life is to those born into that kind of environment. Thank you, Lou for visiting.


  9. phoenixrisesagain says:

    When it gets tough for me I often think about all those who have to life in war or in poverty in those countries and then I try to be grateful for what I have. Life is relative not only time …. thank you for the poem and those pictures.


Don't leave without letting me know your feelings...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s