My time in London with daughter Debora was fun. She is working on a new book and planning the launch of her marvelous ( mother's pride...) book Gifts from the Garden on the 20th.
We sorted out some papers and she handed me a paper with a rather dark, long poem of mine which I'd entirely forgotten. Reading it again I remembered the girl who was its inspiration - a friend I had when I was nine and she was fourteen. She used to call for me many days to come 'out to play'. Even at that age I thought her home set-up was puzzling. In retrospect her friendship with me was equally puzzling.I now feel that in writing this I was recovering some memory.
The poem was first written in 1996. I have edited it further to post it on the blog. It's still dark...
Hope at least you find it interesting.Wx
Men open their wide mouths
teeth bite, bite like lions -
soft hands, smooth pussy paws -
only going for the cream
lapping it with sandpaper tongues:
blue eyes, large black irises
In the house of her aunt and uncle
is a girl - dreaming, putty faced -
and on her bed a bedspread.
whose white hanging-down tassels
vanish one by one
bitten off by pussy cats, they say.
Their house stands in our row -
Jerry-built like ours, fenced with chicken wire -
although unlike us they have no chickens
The aunt and uncle have red faces
his more bulbous, hers sharp with make-up,
her hair all yellow feathers, sides upswept.
My father - prone to bad mistakes -
buys a dozen chicks for breakfast eggs.
and on a string above their fluffy heads
he swings his wedding ring to sex them.
But his ring swings to the left and
tells us they are cocks, every one
No morning chucky eggs for us!
Still, we feed the chicks, clean their cage
cluck over them. But, come Christmas,
we choke them. Not my father - all soft heart -
but my uncle who smiles as his strong fingers
squeeze out their little chicken lives.
And by Christmas Day the dreaming girl
has palmed her savings, run right away.
Her aunt calls her a sly cat –
bad to the core and so ungrateful –
as she burns the bedspread in the garden
fenced all round with chicken wire.