if only


I wrote a love song when I was 19, too many decades ago now. “If Only” – I recorded this in 2000, more than a decade later (click on title to listen on Soundcloud). It was a young woman’s musing on what might have been. Now, looking back, I am glad nothing came of that particular “if only” heart-mind-doodle. The objet trouvé in that song is definitely not what I want in my life now, and I am where I want to be, doing what I have always wanted to do but never thought I could. Life is a journey, a grand epic performance, and things happen in different dramatic, theatrical sequences, segments, on varied settings and physical platforms, different costumes and audiences. At this point in time, in this particular frame, anyone else in my life for now apart from Lucy would be a hindrance and interference.

This is a different kind of “if only” longing – a kind of hiraeth for something precious that cannot be retrieved, an innocence that will never be revisited, and the consequences of its ruination cannot be rectified because I am still as powerless as I was before: I am still that woebegone child, unable to carry this other child on my back and run away fast enough from the demons that threaten to swallow us both.

To Baby…

if only

i could

i would

most surely

most swiftly

most bravely

take you


from your grief

from your pain

from your agony

i will

wrap you

in comfort

and build for you

a home with strong roof

to shield you

from tears

from fear

from leery voices of dismay


adorn you

with fragrant softness

with strong courage

with gentle joy

if only

i could

i would

wipe away

memories of cruel mockery

wailing, crying

unloved child

naive innocence

tethered to the gate

terror in the stinking darkness

lashings of merciless cane

but who will erase

my memory

of standing by




doing nothing


and glad to have escaped?

the guilt of the survivor

i cannot shed

but i wish

if only

i could

i would

make it up to you

care for you

give to you

envelope you

in the grace

that should



to partake


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