Lorely Forrester was born in Kenya, raised in the West Indies, moved to England mid-teens and graduated from King’s College London, afterwards working at IPC Magazines, then in advertising and film documentaries. She now lives in Ireland, where she was Editor/Feature writer of Discover Sligo magazine for years, wrote PR & marketing material, organised events, designed gardens including a Gold Medal-winning show garden at Bloom, and introduced (commercially) a new rose named WB Yeats. She also started Secret Gardens of Sligo charity garden trail. She has been writing and gardening since childhood. She is now an Irish Citizen.
Talisman for a Hound
I find a keepsake on our last day.
A heart-shaped stone, cold and
grey in the sea. It is the clone of
my heart without her. But castaway
in the foam, it is her old
and faithful heart given finally
into my keeping. I hold it fast,
folding my hands around it,
folding the past in on my creeping
grief, seeking some hidden alchemy,
to leech from stone some vast,
last, heart-rending relief.
Her thirteen years dissolve with the foam
on my hands, with the rain, with the
tears. She is ready to go, fearless,
waiting to roam another shore, and her
silent ghosts are baiting her this
morning, warning me as they lure her on,
that she is already half-gone, gone,
done with her life, skittish on suddenly
sapling legs that prance her to the
edge of the wind. And I am left,
pinned to this world, watching a
butterfly dance, new wings unfurled.
And the heart that I found in the sand by the edge of the sea,
beats for her still, though it’s years since she gave it to me.
A bitter wind blows through November trees,
across a garden that now grieves for spring, for summer,
the extravagant glory of autumn. I scoop wet stems and leaves
into a ragged heap, sheaves of a forlorn harvest
destined to rot. The bile of the year collecting in sallow piles,
these trophies that the weary year forgot.
Pale buds too nondescript to name, one last bright
flame of flower against the earth where nothing new will
this year come to birth. I wrench out roots, discard dead stalks.
Nothing will come of this. The shoots that promise life
beyond my reach, distanced by hard-pruned days, each
a life sentence. Oh, swiftly come
the bright sharp knife of winter to release me from
the tomb of this enfolding death, splinter this stale decaying
of the earth, scythe the drab days, fragment the inert self.