Evelyn Stuart Hardy, Artist and Illustrator,
Discovers Eugene Field’s Poem ‘Little Boy Blue’

the tin soldier’s face
blushes red as he stands
in his rust-coloured suit
with a sword in his hands
in Eugene’s dusty attic
dull cobwebs thread light
into patterns of hope
in case somebody might
come to call but the dolls
are all frozen in place
and the little dog
no longer waits



Still They Were Dancing

They were dancing in the way of old lovers
whose lives have blurred into a mosaic of day-in, day out,
who have loved so hard and fought so much
the lines of their relationship have been drawn
and redrawn too many times and she no longer cares
if he’s got yoghurt on his chin and he no longer minds
that she left the hot kettle on the wood counter again.
Yoghurt can be wiped off and stains can be sanded out.

It’s memories that last, indelible: good ones, like when
they first discovered she was pregnant;
bad ones, like that fight where she’d flung
a handful of raw hamburger meat at him
and he’d ducked so it hit the picture
hanging on the wall behind him,
the one that had been their engagement photo.

In it, she was holding
a glass of wine, her elbow back a little,
the glass tipped in such a way you knew
it was going to end up all over him
in the next picture, if there was a next picture,
only this time it was hamburger meat, not wine,
and it was all over both of them.

They were dancing in the way of old lovers
who no longer needed to be tentative with each other,
his hand resting casually on the small of her back,
hers nested in the space between their bodies,
Johnny Mathis singing about being 99 miles from LA
and wanting, their feet barely moving.

They were dancing in the way of old lovers
who could read each other like large-print novels in a Costco bin,
whose every in-breath matched the other’s out,
who knew, finally, there really was no time except this,
this nanosecond in space, this touch, this sound,
this gentle sway of bodies that knew
each other like a mother tongue.

They were dancing together because of the wine
and the ease of simply being they’d finally fallen into
and because if they were dancing they didn’t
have to talk to each other and they’d long ago
run out of anything new to say
and because a body dancing in time to old, familiar music
speaks a language of its own.

They were dancing as if it was the last dance,
the dance before the bar closed,
the dance before chairs went up on tables
and doors were locked, as if it was the last dance
they’d ever share, as if the song would never end,
but bars close and songs end and doors lock and the way is lost
and still, still they were dancing.




  1. Absolutely lovely poem, Linda. Excellent.

  2. Rita Moir says:

    Love Still They Were Dancing, Linda. Wow, the wine and the hamburger, the yoghurt and kettle, the large print at the Costco bin – what a picture of our daily lives. Thanks for the Mexico pictures, also, on your blog…on the absolutely crappiest slogging winter day when the snowblower breaks down upon shredding an old grain bag.

    Love to you,

  3. barbara little says:

    Ditto to all of the above from Rita, wowsers Linda, I can just see you and Ted slowly weaving around the wood stove, the recliners, the glasses of wine easily in reach, the need and permission not to speak, thinking of you purple mtn people from my snowie perch…… barbiedoll in Reveltoked

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