September 20, 2016 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

IWM photo



Abigail Rathbone






It’s mostly a blur.

What’s sharpest now are the memory of those early sensations–

The neighbor’s dog licking her feet, the tastes of 1940s

Toasted cheese sandwiches and rice pudding,

The street sounds and the El’s racket,

Mother letting her hold the rationing coupons

All the way to the store.

If she had the words now she could write it all down

With such accuracy and no interpretation,

But perhaps that’s the alternate meaning of

“Negative capability“–

She would if she could, but she can’t.








In opera everything matters maybe too much



Sooner or later if you’re a fan of the opera

You can’t help thinking of your own life

As a libretto. Moments linger

Fraught with meaning out of all proportion

As when Rodolfo picks up Mimi’s glove

And a beloved aria bursts forth, a deathless love,

Doomed by actual death.

Those great old operas

Filled with exaltation

Hopes that swell and swell and then

Crash down with

Mighty thuds like glaciers falling into the sea all

Shattered beauty

Are dangerous, seducing

The impressionable mind far more than

those X-rated movies

Which only suggest that Nothing matters.

In opera Everything matters and

Matters and matters drowning your heart with

Tsunamis of emotion that sadly,

May deflect from consideration,

Some of the deeper tragedies of the

Human condition…











Abigail Rathbone

Abigail Rathbone has been writing both short fiction and poetry “on and off” for 50+ years. A retired copywriter she now spends much of her time buying and selling old books, some of which she reads.


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