Terence Roe

jack and jill

she tried to scrub away the grime
but wound up pegged out on his washing line
only to drip dry to drip dry
oh the bowls of suddy tears
that sharp green spring had once been hers
she pawned it all for stocks and furs
now she is trembling
in her hot house
it is winter

while jack burns up with intensity
so the blunted days of mediocrity
penetrate him, they penetrate him
like a splinter
he feels held back in the market place
he thought he’d entered a winning race
in his grey suit
and his jaguar
can’t seem to shift into a higher gear

standing alone in the sleet
he pulls back some trigger
grinning with pleasure
his thumb between his teeth
his heart missing a beat

they sacrifice their lives to fear
the middle distance always clearer
than the moment the precious moment
much too painful to perceive

their love-boat neither weathered well
the hidden grief beneath the swell
but they sail on
through the rocky seas

jack takes refuge in his guns and golf
and jill shares more or less the half
of a safe life, a certain life
the only thing she can be certain of

they’ve planned it all, they know the score
their plots of earth already spoken for
they will sleep then in the cold ground
with their names carved in stone above

she finds him adrift in the pool
bright with his blood
with a bullet as his tool of release
she merely mutters

jack and jill went up the hill
to fetch a a pale of water
jack fell down and broke his crown
jill she came tumbling after

(old english nursery rhyme)