The Colour of Sorrow

inspired by "Self Portrait as a Soldier in the Trenches" by Robert Henderson Blythe.


You stare at me

through empty eyes.

Sitting straight-

backed you glare

at my back as

I turn my face away.

I sit in my

chair and sigh, a

sound so familiar

it feels like security

Your lips graze

my cheek and

I feel your eyes


Lips on mine

sweet and sure,

filled with passion

and lust.

I picture you

cold and alone

clutching my letters,

listening to death.


The neighbour's house exploded late

one night,

shrapnel flying across the

familiar field,

scattering into the dark

to join the stars and the

broken promise.


I'll send you socks

and cigarettes

and a letter that

you'll read.

Tears on cheap paper

poisoned with my

scrawling print.

I'll tell you that

I miss you and

the baby's doing fine.

I'll moan about

the lack of milk

and try to pass the

time, filling every

inch with words of

tender love.

I won't say

every night I sob and

hold your picture close

as the sky lights up

and the house shakes.


I exhale the colours

of sorrow:

Blue and grey and

mournful purple.

Little hands tug me

back into now.

And my now is orderly chaos.

Crayons and cooking.

A cacophony of boredom.

The front door swings.

A view of the sky

for one moment too little and

I ache at the base of my wings.

I imagine you taking your time

down the hall,

holding the little ones,

returning to kiss me, your mouth full

of dying fire.