Julie Rosenfield

My journal

Archive for the tag ““poem”

The Breakfast Club

The long, long winter,

The hard, frosted ground,

A handful of kindness,

A scatter of breadcrumbs,

Breakfast club is open.

* * * * *

In the kitchen, with the washing up,

Standing poised, I wait.

It’s not long till the first guest,

The shy wren, hops back and forth,

Considers the menu,

Unsure of approach.

* * * * *

Not so shy, a bold magpie,

Swoops down,


Crams its beak, once then twice,

Until with a flutter of feathers,

A band of brothers swoop down,

Scattering feathered fellows at the feast

* * * * *

Yet all is not lost,

Crumbs of comfort still,

For the thoughtful squirrel,

Nibbling delicately,

Like a seasoned connoisseur,

And two hopping robins,

Their blazing red chests illuminating

This frozen, white scene.

* * * * *

Just a brief pause, while I dry my plates,

And consider how this picture came to be.

Wheat growers in distant lands,

The work of the harvest,

The kneading, the baking,

   One thoughtful purchase

   And a kind winter’s deed.

* * * * *

And now my dishes are dried,

The garden empty, save frost,

Breakfast club is ended

As another day flies by.



I loved that man to distraction

To inaction, to the traction of my soul

Whatever he wanted, there I was

But however hard I tried

My love was not returned.

* * *

“Put up a barrier,” my friends urged

“A cold wall.”

Tired of broken arrangements

Cancelled dates

Trips to the Shard not shared

I concurred.

* * *

I would erect a barrier, they were right

But not a stone wall, a barbed wire fence,

An invisible, electric repelling beam

But a big, shiny mirror

A large, reflecting pool

That would be my border control.

* * *

So that when I send out beams of needful love

Instead of desiring arrows bouncing off his cold shell

And draining my being of a loving birthright

My love would, through the mirror, be reflected back at me


   And all the desire, the burning,

The yearning and the care

Would reflect back at me

Showering love

On one who deserves it more.

* * *

For he doesn’t need my love

But I surely do

Have craved long and hard for it

Suffered many a year for it

But now through the mirror I see

I am love.


Love is a dangerous business.









In love










Your heart.

I’m sure if Health and Safety were to do a















No-one would ever fall in love at all.


“We’re having Shepherd’s Pie for dinner tonight.”

“Shepherd’s Pie?” you say

“Why are we having Shepherd’s Pie?”

* * *

We are having Shepherd’s Pie

Because tonight

He is having Shepherd’s Pie.

* * *

And no, I haven’t seen him

Or heard from him for two decades

Yet, I know that, tonight,

He is having Shepherd’s Pie.

* * *

 Because a twittering little bird tweeted

That tonight – tweet, tweet –

She is making him Shepherd’s Pie.

* * *

In her photo, she’s prettier than me

Younger than me, cleverer than me

And totally unaware of me.

* * *

And so capable is she

That tonight she is making him

 Shepherd’s Pie – real Shepherd’s Pie

Made from real shepherds.

* * *

Whereas all I have to serve

Is my humble offering

Nothing but lentils in my Shepherds Pie.

* * *

But I’ll match her with my mash

As I peel those potatoes

The sharp knife of rejection

Will still pierce just the same

* * *

And the heat of the boiling water

Will still scorch my lovelorn heart.

I may add rosemary to sharpen the memory

And the juice of a bitter, twisted lemon.

* * *

It’ll mean nothing to him, of course,

As he sits down to dinner,

20 years and 20 miles away

That we’ll be sharing the same dinner

Virtually speaking

* * *

“I think the Shepherd’s Pie is a little over-cooked,” you say.

“A bit burnt around the edges.”

Just like my memories, I think.

“I’m not surprised,” I reply

“It was a long time in the making.”


Catching sight of myself

In the glass shelter of the bus stop

I see my reflection

Short, tubby, middle-aged

In a padded red coat

 * * *

No longer the object of desire I once was

Or thought I was

He made me think so anyway.

One wet, rainy afternoon

When, unexpectedly, we lay together

But that was a long time ago

He’s with another now

 * * *

I’m glad his memories of me

Will always be bright,

Not grey-haired, not ageing

Or battered by the world as I am now

 * * *

This way, he’ll always remember me

The way I used to be

And in his mind, I’ll always be young

As, once again, I’ll dance lightly

And smile.


Old barns like this don’t fall down in a day

Neglect, storms and the dreaded beetle

Eat away at the rafters


But rafters can be repaired

Their ends scarfed

As they live to fight another day.

* * *

 Seasons-old timber can be replaced

Hewn from heavy lumber

Its willing labourers weary

So swiftly drafted in

That long collaborative summer

 * * *

Even that fire with the scorching, burning straw

Singed this wall but could not defeat.

Its occupants safely evacuated

What a flutter from the hens that night

 * * *

The crooked gambrel roof

The painted red-and-white trim

The hayloft bursting with wholesome grain

Signs that should say home

And all are safe within

* * *

And in this corner,

A faded blue overall

Muddy, streaked and torn

Forgotten until now

And yet forever precious



Just another coffee, then I’ll go

After all, he didn’t say he’d definitely be here

Only that he’d get away if he could

Which nowadays is not that often

What with his work, and what with her.

* * *

Not that he’ll be with her that much longer.

He’ll probably tell her this weekend

In fact, he would have told her last Sunday

If it hadn’t been for Charlie’s tooth and Amy’s bug.

But he will definitely tell her.

* * *

I wasn’t sure about this hat at first

Yellow’s not really my thing

But the saleswoman was so insistent

And now I’m quite glad of its cover.

* * *

Not that anyone knows me around here

Everyone at home thinks I’m a respectable girl

What will they say when it all comes out?

I’ll be the talk of the typing pool.

* * *

Just another coffee then to keep out the cold

This green coat isn’t nearly as warm as it looks

Its brown, fake fur-lined collar and cuffs

Don’t quite keep out the chill

* * *

They’ll be closing for the night soon

The waitress looks at me pityingly

But I resist asking for the bill

* * *

After all, once, on a night

Like this, just such a night

When I’d quite given up hope

He came bursting through that door

All apologies and carrying flowers

As bright as those peaches in the bowl.

* * *

Of course, it was earlier then

Earlier on, earlier in the evening,

Much nearer to the start of things

How long now? Two years, maybe three

He thinks all he has to do is call

And I’ll come running


* * *

‘Another coffee?’ the waitress asks, at last.

‘No thanks. Not for me.’

I think, at last, I’ve had my fill.

The Automat:  painting by Edward Hopper


Every day, I climb the Eiger

 Emerging blearily from my bivouac

 Bracing myself to tackle the summit

But not for me crampons, ice picks, sturdy boots

The fear of frostbite,

The thrill of the ascent

* * *

 My challenge lies closer to home

A humble office with its mountain of files

I open the door,  jangling keys, like a dreaded prison warder

Ready to do battle with the elements therein

 * * *

Inside the cabinet, they assemble

Standing rigid like soldiers

Stiff, unyielding, marshalled, controlled

Even extracting one causes an avalanche of protest

 * * *

By night, they become changelings

Shuffling like enchanted playing cards

In the hands of a master magician

Tumbling  like acrobats

Mixing and mingling, like a seasoned party host

 * * *

 Every morning I scale Kilimanjaro

K2 or, today, K-to-Z.

It’s the Scottish peaks like Ben Nevis

Which are hard to fathom

A struggle to put in order:

Macaulay, Mackin, Mace, McVarish

 MacAdam, McIlroy, Mack,  McTavish

All must be conquered and order restored

 * * *

Every morning, I climb Everest

Trying to make a foothold

Until night-time when I leave for base camp

And the shelter of a place called home.




Kneeling on the garden mat

Armed with gloves and shining knife

The radio recalls the past

      As the Battle of the Bindweed begins ……

* * *

The day had been a long time coming

Secret plans, no suspicions

At dawn, an early landing

And then ….

* * *

See here, these green leaves

The reddened stalk

How it rolls around the plant

Like a helter-skelter

Suffocating this mulberry bush until …

* * *

The occupation had been too long

You could hardly tell captor from captee

Until the weapons came

And the blades determined identity

* * *

Even the sharp holly is not safe

Its innate stings,  protection against most things

But not this weed

This boa constrictor of plants

* * *

The dawn landings, footfall after footfall

Captured them with surprise

There’d be casualties, of course

Weren’t there always in war?

* * *

And, oh, the freedom

Liberated from suffocation

The precious breath of liberty

Captive no more…….

* * *

The radio invites me

To share its silent pause

Though my work today is done

War and weeds carry on



I want to wrap myself

Around you


Like bindweed

And squeeze you

Till your breath escapes from your body

* * *

Then even if you cut me down

Expose my roots

I can still return

Wind myself around you

Cling to you

Wherever you are.

* * *

‘Let him go,’ say my friends

‘Cut yourself off’

But I can’t.

Heaven knows I’ve tried

‘Or attach yourself

To someone else.’


* * *

 I felt that attachment

The moment I saw you

Felt your irresistible presence

Fill my yearning heart

Without your life transfusion

I cannot survive

* * *

And so, prune and snip, as you will

I’ll be by your side

Though unbidden or unwanted

For the rest of your life

* * *

And, if you can’t feel the same

At least, admire my tenacity

My steadfastness

My loyalty

Until your very last breath

      Frees you from my grip at last.


We’re here in the lovely garden

Giving praise to the oak and pine

Him, my young, gentle gardener

Me, older and more refined.

* * *

We’ve marvelled how roses renew

And blossom flutters down from the tree

When, all of a sudden, he turns

And announces that he loves me!

* * *

I feel now the hope of spring

Breaking through to my locked-in life

With an endlessly, fault-finding husband

And me, a sad, dreary wife

* * *

I stare at him long as I can

  Till reality dawns all anew

I sigh as I have to agree

“Yes. And I love yew too.”

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