On the Cards

Here is a ‘post-Christmas’ poem.

We look forward to receiving updates from friends, but with age the message on the Christmas cards starts to change.


Cover image marked, we seek the inner message,

annual brief updates from  distant acquaintances

signal reminders  of an earlier existence and place,

prompts to time , lightly bearing guilt or pleasure.


HAPPINESS and JOY wished in large printed type

the pain entwined below, in the hand written script.

Nigel  has dementia amongst his other problems

No further mention of what the ‘other’ are.


Images of the natural world usurp religious icons:

A hare runs beneath a swollen golden moon

Energetic life masks this minimal tragic update

An inoperable tumor has been found in her brain.


An annual  hand- made card,  the artists greeting

Michael has cancer, and has come home to die

short and simple, her style an understatement

for complexities of reaching our advanced age.


We are all reaching,  unsure of what we seek —

not yet named in obituaries, aware  our bodies

 are slowly becoming strangers, we write:

Another year!  Hope this finds you as it leaves us.



  1. Judith Wolton

    Yes found the poems Ivor!
    This is exactly what is happening all around us,and its all sort of expected but not welcome, as we all journey on, hoping for the best – whatever that may mean – and wishing everyone well. We cannot count the days, so try to live positively.

  2. Val Basnett

    You’ve mirrored and expressed in your writing my own inner thoughts so well. Each day I am reminded that I and others around me are travelling towards something inevitable and of course we are.

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