October 15, 2016

Written by Talitha Fraser


Photo by Talitha Fraser

How lonely stands the park bench
that once cushioned so many!
Alone now where once it held
hospitality and community.
That which was functional
now functionless and empty.

She waits – by dawn, and dusk,
and starlight – for the livers and the lovers
but she waits in vain
there is no one left to come.

The realists know better, as do
the cynics and the players can’t
sit still long enough…
the leavers and the left might,
if feeling masochistic, drop by.

The river byways and parks are empty.
The blanket stays in the back of the ute.
Young girls will dream, but there is a hard set
to their mouths that belies
any naivety – this is not
a place for dancing.

The married remark, “now you
know our emptiness” in a welcome
that leaves you cold and hungry.
That which sustained you is not dead
but it is gone
and will not come by this path again.
You, moved yet unmoving,
must learn to live without it

 The shine of your green paint
has lost its lustre, your
pleasant outlook, now dulled.
Strangers come, seeking rest
but you do not replenish and
rest-less they move on.

The bench recalls timeless summer afternoons
of dappled sunshine as isolated
and disconsolate minutes pass that feel like hours.

You thought you had something to offer
but the prams, puppies, pushbikes… all pass
without seeing you. You try to turn inwards
but fixed in place you cannot. There is no
cover for you and no way
to hide from this reality

In your joy you made no note of seasons…
laid nothing aside against the winter, you complain of the cold and wonder that
no one will heed you. “God, here I am empty,
won’t You fill me?”

The livers and the lovers that once
used to be cushioned by your embrace
wander and wonder whether
that safety and support were real
or an illusion – filling their lives with
busyness and crowding out the rest
they cannot have because
they cannot find it they are moving so fast
to stay warm.

My heart cries out for
those walking past.
Arms akimbo I wait
extending such of comfort and comfortable
as I have to give
but the people look and
do not see what is
there for the taking.

Maybe I did not prepare
for this winter but I
am as I was made to be
and my keening grief is
more for others than myself
cold inside, not out.

For these things I weep.
That we each have something to offer
the other needs. Separated,
with no view to reunion, no way to
find one another unless the living
and the loving stumble across me in
some trick of finding in their being lost.

My wood is scarred with the
words of livers and lovers
gouged deep then worn smooth
by weather and fingers learning
the shape of love by Braille.
Scarred but sound.
Not marred but found. Seen.
Add your mark that you have been
Here is a map that the wanderers
and wonderers might follow.

The scars of my wounding then,
silver by moonlight like my tears,
a map to be seen and,
being known – send me then
the lost and the unprepared.

I will warm them.


Talitha Fraser works bivocationally as the Administrative Assistant to the Residential College team at Trinity and as a contemplative theopoetics-dabbler living in community with asylum seekers and refugees at Footscray Salvos Outreach. Her poetry and reflections can be found at


One Response to “Lamentations”

  1. […] of poems by Rod Beecham, Talitha Fraser, and Danny Fahey (To Vanish, Fragments in the dreaming, Lamentations, Two Women, One Child And The Judgement, and The Prodigal Son) capturing intimate moments of […]

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