‘My’ New Diary
‘Who’s in, who’s out’, you pondered
in your turn-of-the-year poem A New Diary,
echoing those chilling words from
the Yom Kippur liturgy, ‘Who shall live,
and Who shall die’ as God sits in judgement
on high and a new year begins.
You had your own painful roll call
to contemplate, as you began the
less godlike transfer of names
and numbers from your old diary
to the waiting pages of your new one.
Who has lived, and who has died?
And now this cold January day
I face my own new diary. Shockingly,
inevitably, your name looms first.
Of course, I remind myself, you always
were the first on lists, we joked about it,
and how your books (when there!)
were always tucked away, top left, on high
bookshop shelves, out of sight, unreachable.
A for Abse, and a number so often dialled.
I stare again at the old well-thumbed A page,
consider the unwelcoming new one.
I can’t, I won’t do that to you old friend.
This year I’ll leave the A’s in peace.
We’ll start with B.