Jeannie Van Rompaey

On The Move

Samples of Poems from On the Move

 

Moving to Gran Canaria

Easy it was for us to change

The cold complacent soil of England

For Gran Canaria’s warm, expectant sand.

 

No children, no grandchildren left behind,

Friends of course, but they can visit us

 

And we them,

If ever we can drag ourselves away.

 

Los Molinos

 

The windmills of Arinaga

Propagate overnight,

Stark against the skyline, orange spies loom over roofs

Multiples of Sauron’s malevolent eye.

 

Don Quixote’s giants

Have slimmed down

From robust torso to tapered trunk.

Instead of sturdy limbs

Slim propellers with orange cuffs girate.

 

Mechanical monsters from War of the Worlds

Prepare for battle.

The footsoldiers line up

Threaten the landscape

Assert that wind power rules.

 

On the Steps

 

The tide is in.

No beach left.

I sit on the steps between La Barca and Libro Oasis

Watch and listen.

Sun on the bay trembles on the lilt of the waves,

Sliding stripes of midnight and turquoise

Trimmed with white frills of lace

Where the waves wash

Ashore the multi-shaped, multi-coloured pebbles of

Cream and ochre, slate and terracota

and one huge stone of pure white

that lands on the bottom step

and just misses my foot.

 

Far out, the frilly lace turns to sterner stuff

The breakers froth a hint of danger

And I hear, as in a dream,

The sound of sea and surf and sonic thunder

And decide I will not swim today.

 

La Familia

 

A young man, baby aloft like a periscope

Rides the breakers like a L.A. surfer.

The baby, face puckered,

Leads a charmed life.

Enchanted by sea and sun,

encased in the strong arms of his protector

He shows no fear.

 

The child’s mother sits on the steps,

watches the pair with keen bird-like eye,

Towel at the ready,

As her heroes cruise home again.

Her husband she greets with a nod,

Her son she envelopes in towel and blanke soft as her womb

And holds him close,

Covers his face with little pecks,

While the young man, having delivered his charge,

Strides back into the ocean with his surfboard

without a backward glance.

Weddings and Funerals

 

We used to meet at weddings

Exchange a smile or two,

Chat a bit of this and that

What was what and who was who.

 

Now we meet at funerals,

Avoid each other’s eye

Aware we share the fearful thoughts

Of our mortality.

 

Middle

(with apologies to Tim Firth and his character, Angus, from the play, Neveille’s Island)

 

Middle-aged, middle management, middle income, that’s me.

I live in a middle-sized, middle-priced house

In an avenue, not a street or a road,

With my middle-sized family,

middle-sized cat, dog and mouse,

In middle England

In a middling sort of town.

 

Middle-class born and bred, that’s me,

I drive a middle-sized , middle-priced car,

I keep to ther middle of the road, you see,

Never venture too near the edge or too far.

 

I isten to middle-of-the-road music,

Classic FM, Mantovani, Gilbert and S

And expound middle-of-the-road opinions on matters of politics,

morality and the press.

 

Five out of ten for my life.

There’s nothing wrong with it.

Nothing right with it.

It’s middling.

 

Sometimes I think I’ll do a Thelma and Louise and set myself free

From the prison of safe sex, the comfort of ensuite and Rich Tea.

 

But my hand betrays me on the steering wheel

And, without real thought of why,

I reject the freedom I dreamt could be mine

And veer back to that safe middle line.

After all, why change?

I’m doing just fine.