Douglas Clark: Warmth

Nearly fifty years ago
I used to lie in my bed at Coatham Hall
In the darkness
Watching the dying red glow of the coke fire
Before I went to sleep.

Norma, our maid, used to creep in
And change into her pyjamas
Shadowed against the fire
As she sought for warmth.

Once I watched a lively mouse
Run along the top of the fireguard.
I would try to get the cat to sleep with me
But it always objected and fled from beneath the sheets.

In the early hours of the morning
I would awake screaming in hot sweats.
This happened frequently
And my mother, worried, would come to comfort me.

I was screaming at the nothingness I
felt all around and in me.
The emptiness.
My being alone in the world of my head.
No affection reaching me.

I have been alone all my life except for three girls.
My trilogy.
Love is all you need.