All 31 entries tagged Poetry

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June 06, 2006

This one's for my Mum

A Woman's "If"

If you can keep your head when all the family
Are loosing theirs and blaming it on you,
Because the Christmas turkey’s burned to cinders
And all the vegetables are mushy too;
If you can work from nine to five, and then some,
If you can get the dinner cooked by six,
If you can read the kids a book at bedtime,
Then softly tidy up the lego bricks:

If you can do the school run in the mornings,
With two bored kids behind you yelling “Mum!”
Resist the urge to knock their heads together,
And try and make the journey something fun;
If you can cope with paint stains on your clothing,
The midnight feeding and the constant stress,
If you can say to her with self–assurance
“I won’t let you go out wearing that dress!”

If you can cope with no appreciation
For all the little things you say and do,
Share all your time between your work and family,
Forget there’s not much time left just for you;
If you can earn the funds for all the school fees
If you can run a business like a pro,
If you can keep your cool at parents meetings,
And through it all, act like you’re in the know:

If you can keep the house and garden spotless,
And throw a dinner party, just for fun,
Find out the cat has eaten all the trifle,
So in ten minutes make another one;
If you can keep the peace between the factions
Of small child one and small child two at tea,
If you can do all this, and keep your temper,
Then Kipling, you’re a better lass than me!

April 22, 2006


And I felt for a moment that I’d lost it
That the wine in the glass had sucked it all out
Till I poured it back in, glad it hadn’t evaporated.
I paused in a moment
Felt loose–leaf and listless
Blow me away, baby, blow me away now.
The cat sleeps as always, and I talk some nonsense
And I miss you in this empty space.

And the fire is on, but I’m too scared of burning,
Of sitting too close and cooking the flesh on my bones
My chicken legs, dumplings, crisscrossed with fishnets
But under the skin, darling, under the skin.

Blow me away, dear, suck me right to you
Hold me so close that we cannot get out
Fill this space, darling, my obsession, my day–dream
I long for you here as the wine hits my face
Not drowning, but dreaming.

Just before morning as the last star is sinking
I will wake in the twilight and think of your eyes
And the lonely red wineglass will sit on my table
Testament to my nights of waiting
For that fiery moment when you pull me to you and the world stops
And the pretty words stop
And truth begins.

March 23, 2006

The Operation

Writing about web page /thomashutchinson/entry/we_do_not/

Writing about an entry you don't have permission to view

It is ready.
Steri–strips, scalpel
Antiseptic wipe
Clean white paper
And gauze.
No anaesthetic.
It taints the colour,
Purity; no chemicals.

Where this time?
Wrist? Arms? Jugular?
Pulmonary artery
Straight from the heart?
Wrist will do this time,
Save the really gut–wrenching
For later.

A quick incision
Only hurts for a moment,
And three clear drops

Done, the alcohol stings,
A slight shudder.
The steri–strips now:
Press the thin tissue edges together
Align not to scar.
Then, and only then,
A glance at the page,
The work.

Not right.
Crumple the sheet, and throw
In the vague direction of the bin.

For Thom Hutchinson

Haiku to Booze

End of day sun, and
Liquid rubies in a glass
Bathe your lips: breathe out.


March 13, 2006


Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

Dorothy Parker

February 20, 2006


Wine that tasted of first freedom
From silver that we kept, and
Now I keep silver in.
The heady scent of violets, shops
Tongue tied nerve bubbles,
New and dangerous responsibility
Nöa Perfume.
Perfect blue sky that scorched
The photographs of the steep hill
With its murky glass coke bottle café, church
And the crypt where I wouldn’t kiss you.

Place du Canard
(Burnt Umber; duck à l’orange)
Too rich chocolate crepes
White orange blossom
First kiss.

A displacement of everything.
Grape presses and purple-footed tormentors.
Bubble-gum pop, my first asparagus.
Glass cases over dusty flowers
Worn left or right to denote belonging.
Photographs of ducks and the boy in the park
And in my mind, the boy in the road.
Ancient audio described straw and twigs
Unheeded in the mud and linked hands.
Motorway service stations, busses
And heads and chests.

January 26, 2006


Lean on my legs.
Sit on my feet and lean back against my legs.
If your own give out
From standing too long
Use mine.
Keep my feet on the ground
Else I might fly with the buzz
You give me
When your feet give out
And you lean on my legs.

January 05, 2006

Meditations on a Pot–plant

Palm fronds
In the afternoon
Cast shadows like fingers
Reaching for something.
Who knows what the shadows
of plants want?

January 01, 2006

Hypolyta's Lament

What use is speed?
When even Atlanta had to cheat herself
To get a man.
Bears the weight of a heavy heart
And you’ll have that.

If I were to loose a breast
I could scarce be less feminine
And still unable
To draw Cupid’s bow.

Never a Nymph
And while for my own sake
I would not change
My warrior’s arms
Comfortable legs
And the height that lifts me
Above the multitude
For those lithe limbs,

I keep finding that
The world loves an independent woman
From a distance.

The Sepia Poems

Jan 9th 2002


You cleaned out your filing cabinet today
And found
You showed me the snapshots.
Black and white photographs
Of you as a boy in India.
Spot Daddy in the rugby team photo

And you again,
The car you drove,
The speedway.
A few old girlfriends
You met before Mum.

Pictures of Mum
In 70’s glasses
And uncontrollable hair
That you scrape back into a plait on work days

Captured in black and white
All those long years
Before I was even thought of.

It’s a strange feeling
Finding the people you have known longer than anyone
Are the people you know least of all.

August 13th 2003

Sepia II

You have to train your eye
To see past the overtones
Of “mummy” and “daddy”
Of “Responsible parent”.

Your mind starts adding in automatically
The wrinkles and damage of however many years.
It’s hard to phase out.
You keep seeing and recognising
Noting what’s the same, skimming what isn’t.

You have to notice the differences
And put aside your feelings.
Not “That’s my mother”, but
“That’s the girl who will someday be my mother.”
So much thinner…

Then one photo stands out.
With this I don’t have to force my head around the idea
That this is not the 40something woman
But the 20something girl
Dressed up for a 60’s themed disco
And posing for the camera
In exactly the same way
As one day
Her daughter will too.

November 2005

Sepia III

I look down and see my mother’s legs
In part her contribution to my chromosomes
My height and hair and half my face.
My hands and feet: my fathers.

And they were once me.
Naïve, lovesick, cold and wearing stupid heels:
As stupid, lost and fallible as me.
The mud on her shoes from the Town Moor
Or Exhibition park, not Jepherson Gardens
The Lake on campus or a Leamington back garden.
They lost their way as many times as me.
You realise that, and you start to see
Adults as people too
And still feeling their way, uncertain.

If that is the case,
Why shouldn’t there be, someday,
Some far distant day,
A girl or boy
With my long legs
And half my face
Sitting on the top deck of a bus
Writing poems about photographs
And parents.

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