Saturday, 2 October 2010

Autumn rain

October rainfall
swells brooks and drowns meadows
penetrates branches

Saturday, 3 January 2009

My ultimate post-modern pastiche (revised)

I cannot

splash colours

on scraps of dirty paper

or trill on silver flute

my singing would

scare the crows

from the battlements

at Stirling Castle

this isn’t a poem

to move bones against

clay in buried urns

this is

my map of you

what letters are made of

my ultimate



Sunday, 7 December 2008

Staring Bright: The Ages of Woman

Last scene of all,
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

Autumn tanka

Wild, wild fuchsia

in mellow autumn sunlight

lures work-loving bees

to suck from purple cups, chant

in muted chorus

Friday, 19 September 2008


HiroshimaSeptember 13th 2001

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

Hiroshima. In the Peace Park.

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

Stitch Up

I tried to stitch you together again
- just as you were -
but all I could see was
a yellow chick with
a human eye,
flapping its wings
as it tried
- unsuccessfully -
to fly.
I cannot erase
that waddling gait
and yellow webbed feet.