MS (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

0030 Breasts

I’ve only got to say the word…and
I can hear the male murmur murmur right now
mixed with a hurhur hurhur as of naughty boys…
suddenly lips and fingers have their vivid, hungry memories…
while ladies have their own reactions
not unaware of the murmur hurhur and the fact
that some men think they own these, ungifted, as of right…

and some of us, perforce, have memories as intimate,
loving, detailed, at our fingertips:
the years that once a day or twice
I took the soothing cream and powder,
and with such respect and love and courtesy
washed as gently as I could,
dab-dried with even more light a touch,
lifting those still heavy and magnificent creations, then
with first the cream and then the powder
traced with so careful finger, the sweaty sores
that brassiere and human warmth had made
under the milky skin, lightly veined in blue,
the other hand shifting their tender, surprising weight
to make the task so perfect,
all the while listening carefully for
that slight intake of breath that meant that pain
was a necessary factor in this task…

and those days of delicate comedy
when I sought with such care among the women’s stores
seeking out the older assistants, prefacing
my potentially kinky or erotic request, they might think,
with reasons: the sores, the preference for front-fastening,
the possibilities of sleep-bras which however
failed to hold those splendid orbs…
the sports bras which might be too tight –
I could have made a career of it…

and when you died, at a hundred years and two,
the skin unblemished, smooth, unwrinkled
on your back and round those lovely breasts
I’m left with that strange, unasked treasure – love beyond desire,
And fingers full of memories of care.

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Comments (5)

Stunning Mr Shepherd, simply stunning. I'm newish to this site, so it's going to take me quite a while to read all the poems, I may falter on my journey and I may lose interest, but I won't lose interest in yours. Thank you for making my day better.
The idea of memories on one's fingertips is very fascinating. This is love beyond desire, that's for sure. A beautiful, almost sacred work. I'm very touched. Thank you for a delightful read!
I too am left surprised by the reading...wonderful piece of work, entirely diff. than i expected from the title- ;) K-
This is so touching - not what I expected from the title. avr
This brought tears to my eyes...so caring and loving and tender...a surprise to the reader, given the title. I am wondering whether you might want to give the poem a different title. Just a thought. Raynette