archives, poetry

Passage of Pieces: We Sewed with Our Words. {poetry}


The little moments are the ones that nourish. The words hung between us. The room drew momentarily closer. With its simple furnishings. The single wooden cot.

The drawers in their chipped, worn frame. The black rosary beads that dangled from the spare wooden peg above the bed. There was not one overcomplicated thing within these four walls. The window frame was simple, square and strong. A single bulb hung above us, surrounded by an unfussy linen shade. The only other illumination came from the candle.

A short stocky pillar of wax sat solidly into a saucer, the flame alternately flickering and dancing with the draughts that passed in the window and out again beneath the door. Brother Alain sat straight-backed in one armchair. I occupied the other with its frayed wicker sides. It was how we met. Once every month on Thursday evening. The monk and the lecturer.

The frustrated academic and the blind priest who had once been a soldier. Who had tales of carousing wine-sodden through Marseilles. Of nights under the north African skies. Of war in all its horror. A man who had shed every skin he knew, sitting before me, whose gentle wisdom I had come to adore. Between us sat the whiskey.

An indulgence perhaps, tucked each time into my shoulder bag, then produced with an air of forbidden glee. Two glasses poured, never more. Sipped in almost reverential appreciation.

I ask you, please notice the small things. Hold them longer than anything that seems large, inflated. What is big is sometimes small. And what feels so tiny, so minuscule sometimes is grand like the universe. Brother Alain’s English was faultless. Yet still French words sprouted like wild flowers amid the tidy sentences.

Please my friend, I beg you. Become un collectionneur of the small little moments. Learn to hoard them like buttons. Like a beggar hunts for change.

And so we exchanged, Brother Alain and me. Whenever I asked him how he perceived the beauty of creation from his place of darkness. With few words, he showed me that light can exist as much within as without. We sewed with our words. Wove nets of meaning that stretched between us. Made promises to ourselves that caught on hooks like the rosary. Perhaps they hang there still?


It is the way. It is
My friend.
How moments arrange
Themselves into a net
That falls into a story
That becomes a history
That swims in an ocean of histories
That we call time.

This was our conversation
As we sat that night
In over-stuffed armchairs
Talking of shamans and dreams
Illusions and beliefs
That become both anchors and sails
That hold us and launch us.

Your grey eyes swelled
As words were carefully
Handed from me to you
From you to me
And plotted upon
The map we drew
While all the while
The whiskey went down.

Outside the window
Light left us for the place
It goes as the night becomes
Queen and birds of the day
Give way to the calls that
Haunt among trees and
Slither beneath our still
Open windows.

Softly the hours trammel us
We grow closer on the inside
I will not forget you
Is just another moment
That will one day rest
In my memory
And perhaps yours.


Anglo-Irishman Jerry Beale has traveled many paths. Royal Marine officer, international judo competitor and jiu-jitsu fighter, bodyguard, award-winning advertising creative director, occasional journalist and magazine contributor, performance poet, traveler, father to three amazing young people, observer and incessant writer. Jerry began writing at an early age. It became a way to review his feelings, a love of nature and the simplicity of dusk. Writing short stories, poems and essays became a casserole pot to allow sentiments to mature and hasty reactions to lose their tang, and they continue to be so. Jerry has read at bars, cafes and events in Los Angeles, London, Auckland and Melbourne. He’s had poems included in anthologies in the USA, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, and had his work read via radio shows and vlogs from Prague to Vancouver, but has yet to publish his own collection. One day, as they say…


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