Saturday, 2 October 2010
Tuesday, 28 April 2009
Saturday, 3 January 2009
on scraps of dirty paper
or trill on silver flute
my singing would
scare the crows
from the battlements
this isn’t a poem
to move bones against
clay in buried urns
my map of you
what letters are made of
Sunday, 7 December 2008
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything
(The Seven Ages of Man by William Shakespeare)
Greta Garbo glamour at twenty- one;
bought with your hard earned cash. The photographer
placed one hand at your throat above
the white fur wrap with lighting to gloss
your porcelain skin and cold waved jet black hair.
(Sepia cannot conceal your lipstick’s cherry red.)
Your Cary Grant sifted sheet music
at the Saturday market; a country born lad,
on a farm at fourteen in the year you both left school.
Your sister said, You could do better.
But you started collecting for your bottom drawer;
there was a white wedding on the eve of war.
Your Garbo likeness and your wedding shot
sideboard sentinels to my childhood.
The perfect Fifties housewife, you
traced templates of a woman’s role
onto refractory matter. I am not
the daughter you would have liked me to be.
I keep forgetting to replace the glass;
cracked when you fell over the coffee table
my father never mended. You airbrushed
the time he spent away with another woman
but your forehead rutted like an arid field
and a trough of white ran through your hair.
Sole survivor of your generation,
you answer the call of dead voices
as you drift in and out of your dreams.
You wake in a place where you’re still twenty-one,
and through the kindness of cataract gauzes
you put your red lipstick on.
Published in Family Matters (Forward Press 2008). Copyright Carole Alexander.
More about my mother here.
Sunday, 21 September 2008
Friday, 19 September 2008
No planes are flying west
but I’ve flown east
– despite armed guards at Heathrow
rumours and delays
(I surrender scissors whilst
a teenager worries
about unwashed underwear) –
east to where Enola Gay
dropped Little Boy.
By bullet train to
parties of Australian schoolchildren
envelop the statue of a little girl
holding aloft a golden crane
with rainbow coloured garlands –
Sedako’s medicine papers reborn
as cranes. Her goal
to fold one thousand
then she would be well again.
We tour the museum – taste the charred remains
in a child’s lunch-box – cleanse ourselves with iced coffee.
Under the shadow of the A-Bomb Dome, we watch
cranes dip down into the once black river – rise – and fly away.
‘I will write Peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world.'
(Sadako Sasaki 1943-55)
Copyright Carole Alexander, published by the Forward Press 2008.
Thursday, 3 April 2008
- just as you were -
but all I could see was
a yellow chick with
a human eye,
flapping its wings
as it tried
- unsuccessfully -
I cannot erase
that waddling gait
and yellow webbed feet.