What made my parents behaviour
so odd after the war?
Could it have been the effects
of the military action?
For that was plainly insane.
It is possible, I wonder, to distinguish
between grades of madness?
From the merely bonkers,
or mildly eccentric, to the absolute barking mad?
I know our house was nearly conquered,
for my dad told me again and again,
and just for good measure again.
I used to speculate or muse,
and come down in favour of the long term effects
occasioned by those austere years,
when, for example, reams of cheap paper did for them.
The act of applying the fountain pen to the page,
pressing nib gently but firmly down onto the paper
and watching, dumb with horror as it spread out,
like ill defined, unknown inky countries
on a sea of blotting paper,
as an invasion beyond control or command
absorbed all the words and letters.
Expressions of emotion in poetry and verse,
so important in those days, became rationed,
with sentences short and sentiments terse.
What with that and the blackouts,
where deep, meaningful discourse
became muffled by the inky darkness.
This then is my explanation
for my parents unfathomable behaviour.
Hard to define, in the way of those inky blots.