It was crystal clear his career came first –
his concern for hers always sounded forced.
Why didn’t she tell him how much she minded?
You can’t fault him for what she left unsaid.

No – he should have tuned in to her signals
and stopped them going round in circles.
She shut him out – always so rigid:
small wonder he saw her as cold-hearted.

But to head down the pub with the loser friends
who’d never liked her...  She had such thin-skin –
suspecting they were laughing at her.
They were simply glad he’d found a partner.

He assumed he had a right to sex:
women can’t just turn on the fireworks.
For him, it meant he’d been rejected
on every front – not just in bed.

She started to see him as a joker,
someone not fitted to be a father.
She made him feel his sense of humour
should be cut out like a tumour

and yes he wanted children too –
why didn’t she tell him it wasn’t taboo?
Why? When he’d had that stupid fling?
Despair – it didn’t mean a thing:

why couldn’t she understand it was
a cry for help?  Perhaps because
by then he seemed so far away.
That’s how she seemed to him – I’d say

she has to take her share of the blame.
That’s such a male view! All the same
she wasn’t there when he was lonely.
She would have been, if he had only

learnt what commitment really means.
We’re human beings – we’re not machines
who’ll simply keep on keeping on
when told each day they’re in the wrong...

They both fell silent, while the evening
slowly darkened into night.
Neither switched the light on – maybe
each hoping that the other might.

Tom Vaughan

If you have any thoughts on this poem,  Tom Vaughan  would be pleased to hear them.