No more third person present tense for Maureen


She loved literature, especially historical fiction.
I gave her Ken Follett’s “Winter of the World”,
she was delighted, and I was amused that
she could even hold the 960 page hardback
in her ever shrinking, wrinkling hands.

She was eager to read Mantel’s “Wolf Hall”,
only to be dismayed at the pronoun use, and
she never thought much of novels that used
third person present tense.

She gave up after Part 1,
insisting I give my opinion,
sending me off with homework.
I found the novel to be exceptional,
and Maureen respectfully accepted
there must be something in it,
but third person present tense
just wasn’t for her.

Today, I’ve learned that
she has passed away.
I’ll miss my friend, who
looked on me as a daughter,
but now she won’t be referred to,
or have to ever be bothered
with third person present tense again.

Writing and recording is a little bit raw, having only heard the news just over an hour ago.


38 thoughts on “No more third person present tense for Maureen

  1. Well, poignant was the word I had chosen, too, to describe my response. You know, Rowan, I think the way you’ve expressed this intense grief, without purple prose, without too much sentimentality, is the most effective. So well done.

    • Thanks Claudia. I had only know her a short while (I volunteer as an Age Concern worker – she’d been a victim of elder abuse by her son), but we immediately hit it off…a bit like “Afternoons with Marguriette” (but I don’t look like anything like Gerard Depardieu, and I’m slightly better educated than his character) : )

  2. I hope you cut that 960 page book into three for her. If it weighed less, she might have looked on the syntax with greater tolerance :-). Many’s the book I have ripped into ‘small bites’.
    Lovely subject and I’m sorry you lost her.

  3. I;’m sorry for your loss..but sounds as if this person enriched your life much…Lovely ode to a friend and mentor.

  4. So personal: she was all “you and I” – inclusive, present, and now
    she is gone
    where you and I
    aren’t yet

    You share a moving tribute, Rowan, thank you.
    ~ M

  5. …i felt your piece… but it even touched me when i hear you read it in such a plain, deep tone as if the poem was only intended to be read without pouring much of the emotion behind a speaker’s tongue… i am sorry for the loss Rowan ..

  6. Sad for your loss, Rowan. I’m with Maureen, I’m afraid; I really don’t get on well with books that are written in the present tense. If it is written down, it has already happened – at least in my mind.

  7. Incredibly moving. Still. Why is death so painful for so long and life is forgiven and forgotten almost immediately. There are no memories of death.

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