Lessons in Love
Inspired by William George Falconer, 1922 – 2006
I. The First
The photo flew from Grandad’s falling wallet.
It fluttered to the floor within my reach.
I picked it up and saw the writing on it –
Summer ’64 at Brighton Beach.
I gazed at Gran – a siren of the ocean –
Her skirt hitched up, surf lapping at her thighs,
A skittish grin with saucy notions frozen
In tantalizing, sea-and-sunshine eyes.
My tender heart had plenty left to learn.
The man who snapped the picture taught me well.
He told me Gran’s bold beauty made him burn
To dance with her till frost froze flames of Hell.
I knew that day the value of our chat.
I knew that night I’d pray for love like that.
II. The Last
His feisty spirit hid in wizened skin
That stretched across each worn and weary bone.
I saw his grief – that wretched wince within
His wistful eyes. He choked down every groan.
I held my grandad’s gnarly hands in mine –
Hands that fought a war and built a life
With she who made the bleakest moments shine –
My grandmother, his gone and longed-for wife.
He told me, when the stars were in his reach
And always silvered sprawling golden sand,
He’d meet his foxy sweetheart on the beach.
They’d waltz and kiss then walk home hand in hand.
He taught my smarting heart the marvel of
That death-defying miracle called love.
Susan Jarvis Bryant is originally from England and now lives on the coastal plains of Texas. She has poetry published in a variety of places. Susan is the winner of the 2020 International SCP Poetry Competition and has been nominated for the 2022 Pushcart Prize.
I. Summer Honey Crush
Soft, silken lips shone from her screen last night.
She saw them, plump and ripe, as smooth and lush
As velvet peaches kissed by Sol’s delight.
If her smile blushed in Summer Honey Crush
She’d beam a flirty grin to light his eyes –
That guy who rides the seven-thirty train
To Charing Cross would turn her sighs to highs.
They’d brave the slate-grey skies. They’d waltz in rain.
They’d skip through puddles in Trafalgar Square
(Just like the lovers did on last night’s ad)…
Like Piccadilly clouds, they’d float on air
To rainbow zones where joy eclipses sad.
Their lips would lock and rayless days would rock…
But Summer Honey Crush is out of stock.
She rides the daily seven-thirty train
To Charing Cross – she lights his humdrum trips.
Her muted beauty has no need for vain
Displays of painted nails and glossy lips.
He dreams of wowing her with glam and glitz.
They’d cruise in bliss to bistros by the beach –
The soft-top down, they’d laugh and sing and kiss…
But wishes, priced sky-high, are out of reach.
That Silver-Stardust, red-trimmed, sporty car
(The sleek, pristine machine on last night’s ad)
Would spin them through the spheres to Shangri-La,
Secure her heart and make his ever glad…
They’d melt beneath the moon, him and his honey,
If only he had Silver-Stardust money.
Susan Jarvis Bryant has poetry published on Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, Light, Sparks of Calliope, and Expansive Poetry Online. She also has poetry published in TRINACRIA, Beth Houston’s Extreme Formal Poems anthology, and in Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets in the UK). Susan is the winner of the 2020 International SCP Poetry Competition and has been nominated for the 2022 Pushcart Prize.
It’s all his fault my world’s in disarray.
My heart is hooked my brain has gone astray.
My smitten eyes are bright with starry skies
And swirls of butterflies, to my surprise,
Perform a belly-fluttering ballet.
The fact my faculties have fallen prey
To kisses with the kick of Beaujolais
And giggly, tipsy airs I can’t disguise
Is all his fault.
It happened on that grey, umbrella day
A Botticelli cherub flew my way.
He drew his bow to agonizing cries
Of, “Bring me lips without the sting of lies!”
Post-arrow-pricking traits are now in play.
It’s all his fault.
Susan Jarvis Bryant is a church secretary and poet whose homeland is Kent, England. She is now an American citizen living on the coastal plains of Texas. Susan has poetry published in the UK webzine, Lighten Up On Line, The Daily Mail, and Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets).