Pete Hulme’s “Mary”

IMG_4158I’d creak my way upstairs sometimes and dare
the backroom where my sister, Mary, died
before I was born. ‘Her lungs were putrid
at the end,’ my mother said. ‘I couldn’t bear
to see.’
……..I’d stand there questioning the air
for traces of some meaning it might hide.
On the wall above the iron bedstead,
fading in his photograph, my father,
his broad shoulders stretching his jacket tight,
held a huge bullcalf by a rope, half-stern,
half-smiling, proud: younger then the grim grey
man I knew – and straighter. Then the thought:
a man that to trench-fire did not bow, the burn
of one small child’s loss bent easily.


This poem is by Pete Hulme and is posted with his permission. Pete’s original post of this poem is from his Everybody Means Something blog.

Mary is a heartbreaking poem of loss and regret, the more so since the writer, being so young clearly does not yet know how to access or process such grief, and yet is, in his own unique way, bound to it, making the double hurt all that much more poignant. Thus always is the pain of such innocents.

Thank you for reading Pete Hulme’s “Mary”. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.


Comments © 2014 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. Poem © June, 2012 by Pete Hulme; all rights reserved.


Filed under Poetry

2 responses to “Pete Hulme’s “Mary”

  1. Barbara Minor

    thanx John…so humble a poem….drenched in a quiet longing and heartbreak.

    • Barbara, you are correct…and the heartbreak is palpable, isn’t it? I think that is what drew me to it so forcefully.

      How are you, by the way? We hope to see you at some event or other soon! 🙂