Continuum…at last

It always strikes me as quite strange that “Life is Eximius Ordo” was never intended to be published at all, and most certainly never to be privy to have ever had any part of it read by anyone else’s eyes but my own. It seems to have grown well away from my learned coping mechanism in a lonely isolated mind into a collection of work that seems to please others-considering it covered some 10 years or so of (rightfully described) pure hell, in which if truthfully told I battled with the very last grip on my own sanity on too many occasions, during which I came close to throwing in the towel on life.

So the title, when I finally decided the collected manuscript would be pushed into a published book, became quite easy to choose. Not many people have asked what it means. When the book was launched I was asked by Rony Robinson in my interview on Radio Sheffield (arranged by the amazing Creative Recovery), but did not give the full explanation for lack of time. Among the many people I spoke to back then on my travels was a guy I often spoke to who used to spend some time with me who was ex Forces. The last time we met he gave me a Canadian Forces zippo lighter with the Suffield badge and on it was the motto “Eximius Ordo”. That proved to be the last I saw of him. So the book became titled “Life is in a class of its own”. I thought it suited on several layers but most importantly because those difficult 10 years and the drunken conversations with that gentleman all those years ago, taught me more than I ever thought I would have to learn about life.

Guess it all really started when my partner, who had an incurable and eventually terminal immune system disease, was in hospital,  having been  given less than 3 months to live a painful death. So I wrote “Need I Say Anymore….” while my world collapsed around me…..

NEED I SAY ANYMORE?

On the last night, when you said that you were leaving:

We gave each other promises we longed to believe in:

Said if we were given down the book of time,

We’d be laid out in the stars,

Well we never fought to reason,

With what we thought was ours.

I’d thought we’d play it out to the very end,

Guess I’ll go it on my own,

You know I’ll always be your friend,

But just before you go, tell me now:

How could I ever prove, I’ve nothing more to lose,

So cut it any which way you choose:

I’ll be running, running for the rest of my life,

Sleeping with my back on the edge of a knife,

‘cause I could never write you down,

I could never paint you up,

You were everything within my soul:

So need I say anymore?

What’s right, while you were still breathing,

We made each other promises, wrong to be leaving,

If it was given in these hands of mine,

I’d pray out to the stars,

Well who taught us there’s a reason,

For this love of ours?

I know we played it out to the very end,

Your leaving me now, my only friend,

Now, as I see you go,

I could never choose to cut you loose:

But any which way, I’ll have to prove

I’ll be running, running for the rest of my life,

Sleeping ‘till you turn back on the light,

‘cause should I ever write you down,

I could never pick you up:

You were within, in everything-my soul,

So need I say anymore?

You lost the fight, and I saw you leaving,

Brave belongs the promised land, you now live in,

We were given by The Hand, between the lines,

You ray out from the stars,

I’ll see you in all the seasons,

Through all this love of ours,

I’d hoped we’d make it through the fairy-tale,

So thank Him for the loan,

We’ll always be together as friends,

You’ve always held my soul,

So how could I ever lose? I’ll cut a river to prove,

I’ll be running, running for the rest of my life,

Sleeping ‘till we’re together in the Light,

‘cause should you ever ride on down:

You’d forever pick me up…..

…..I’m living, but not within,

For my everything, my soul-

Need I say anymore?

Fortunately she turned a corner with the help of several specialists who travelled up from London to treat her and after months in hospital was eventually discharged and managed a further few years before her untimely end during which we had parted company.  Strangely I didn’t write anything after that first poem for quite a long time.

After the hideous journey and the path life chose for me and hence all the poems my survival mechanism made me take, my life seemed to change and take a new direction. Then I thought it most suitable to write “Who?” as the end of the book and the start of a new chapter. The only driving force I had left in life at that time is explained in this poem, which goes like this-

WHO ?

Who to break the silence?

Who to take the pain?

Who to break the same old thought,

From rolling around again?

Who to touch in moments?

Who to share a tear?

Who to share a tender hug?

Who to just be near?

Who to turn to in the dead of night?

Who to brighten up the day?

Who to hold to steady,

When weakened legs begin to sway?

Who to echo a hearty laugh?

Who to join the wonder?

Who to wander by the side,

‘till death do put us under?

As if my whole life hasn’t been difficult enough, I have just spent the last 2 years dearly trying to believe at all cost again on my health that the” who” had at last been fulfilled. Alas not to be…..well that’s fate for you. That learning curve is cushioned by the 40 poems that make up “Terms of Engagement” (my fifth manuscript), written during that time when stress raised its creative head.

At present I am having fun chasing publishers for my follow up to “Life is Eximius Ordo”, which is aptly titled “All Smoke and Mirrors”. I say aptly because it took nine months to write and the whole time I had had enough of life but was making big strides in building it back up. As always I wore the mask for everyone else.  Yet as still always, interesting thoughts and observations on life presented themselves at untimely opportunities and fortunately for me, poetry kept the Light at the end of the tunnel in front of me and prose came forth.  A major steadying force, supplemented by the fact I had decided to reverse my own history and begun studying for a B.A. Honours degree. Sadly at present I still cannot open up and am starting to believe I probably never will. Having said that, if it allows me to write around 450 poems up to now because of that, then so be it.

It makes sense to me to put up some poems from “All Smoke and Mirrors” when I can. I seem to think I deserve to put up a few more from “Life is Eximius Ordo”, not least because I have the fortitude to rise above my demons and the dark days they bring.  Busy again at last, happy to be constantly keeping the Light ahead.

Oh, and do I need to mention? Happy for the guidance of The Mistress…..

2 thoughts on “Continuum…at last

  1. Absolutely amazing poetry Nigel, I was really touched by Need I Say Anymore. I can relate to some of the feelings in your poem and the last poem too, Who . It really is heartbreaking to lose someone you love and I’m glad you found a release for your grief.

    Like

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