Although you always did deplore
My frequent locking of your door,
With gentle, kind and boundless tact
You pardoned this egregious act;
And swore – despite my mortal sin –
You’d save me from the loony bin.
Should I grow frail and get the flutters
You’d keep me from the House of Nutters.
And I — to show that I’m true blue –
Will do as much, my dear, for you.
2 thoughts on “Poetry 1 To Irena”
Although you may have seen this at the beginning of Jim’s book, it is worth revisiting as the beginning of a selection of Jim’s poetry. Although only a short poem, it says a great deal about love and commitment. I worried about the “locking of your door”, until I realised that it would be the door of their home. Out of their traumatic pasts, she probably wanted it unlocked – freedom / an escape route. He wanted it locked – safety/ security. Jim uses humour to vow love, forever.
My father was a soldier, out of necessity in the second world war, rather than of choice. He would have made a good renaissance man, as his nature was more humanitarian. Jim was forced to confront many challenges, and World War 2 was one of them.
Today we are reminded about the consequences of being a soldier and the emotional effect it has on them after they de-mob. I have read there are methods in the way soldiers are taught to attack the enemy and kill if necessary. These may vary with countries, but the outcome is the same – the individual emotional turmoil when that man or woman comes home. The formula for reducing the trauma of soldiers after war is not as efficient. How could you not be affected by having your adrenaline on alert 24/7 to kill or be killed, being a prisoner of war, returning to a country who had just moved on and there was little acknowledgement of your sacrifice, and being expected to just get up and return to your daily life without repercussions [ sounds familiar].
My point is that my Mother, Irena, spoke briefly of Jim’s trauma; for three years there were often nightmares and silence while Jim tried to heal. I think my friend Lynda was correct when she said that for Jim his writings and language gave him an anchor to start from, and I think the locking of the door is my father being a little worried about his dream reactions at night in case he hurt Irena. This is a very personal poem from a returned soldier/husband to the woman who cared for and loved him, his wife.