Sunday, July 18, 2010

Monday 19th July: A Poem

I typed this poem out for someone else a few days ago, and I love it so much I thought I'd stick it here too. The poem is by Petrina Barson, from her beautiful book 'Now We Are Four' which you can buy from

The Facts of Life


In the early days
I felt I wore you
like some logo
on my face.
Amazed only
when the woman at the eggs
could not read your absence
from the creases and
undulations there.
My traitor face -
bland as an egg carton -
did not scream at her.
I wanted to tell her -
standing there reading labels -
of all the things
I was discovering
that I had lost -
each moment cracking open
to find you gone:
only four places at the table;
only three pink sugared biscuits
left in the fridge (you helped
to roll them before boredom
eased you back to Lara
jumping on the sofa);
only two children
in the rear vision mirror;
only one direction
that this blessed life drags us -
heels banging on the road.


It's half your little life
since I helped you onto the see-saw
and we tipped laughter
into each others' faces.
Two birthdays gone:
some failed artist
totally lacking the repertoire
to sketch you at five.
And memory no better:
a three-toothed old lady
driving her trolley full of papers
into the wind.
For you are fading:
this precious pain
that is my ice bridge to you
melting in the grimy flow
of circumstance.
Now I bump into it -
one fact among others -
as the river pulls me
to its own end
gaily ignorant of rocks
and plates of ice
hurling me down rapids -
a bony glissando -
then rolling me over
and showing me
(the bright sky).

I particularly love the line "This precious pain that is my ice bridge to you is melting in the grimy flow of circumstance". I very much understand the idea that intense feelings of grief are one of the few connections I have to Salome, so when i feel the sadness less and less, it is bittersweet.

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