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Archive for the ‘Embracing the Family’ Category

This poem by Zoe Deleuil captures a rare moment of intimacy in a relationship made distant by the generations and then made intense again by a simple act. The power of the poem also lies in its simplicity. 

Sometimes, not enough,

I’d really look at you

and say: Let me clean your glasses.

You’d take them off.

Blink. Hand them over.

Pull out a folded handkerchief

from your trouser pocketglasses

and give that up, too.

 

It’s always the edges that get blurry.

I’d work on those the longest, teasing out

flecks of leaf and breakfast smudges and wattle pollen

until the glass was clear. Like making them new

again. You’d put them on – just as slowly

as you took them off – look around

at your familiar world and say:

There’s no doubt about you.

by Zoe Deleuil

zoe-deleuil-2 Zoe Deleuil grew up in Perth, Australia, studied Communications at Murdoch University, and now works in London as a sub editor and features writer. #mce_temp_url#

Her first novel is, She Left, You Came, a teenage love story set in Western Australia. This poem first appeared on the Cordite Website: #mce_temp_url#

B & W pic: Accent on Eclectic’s Photostream: #mce_temp_url#

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Melinda Smith’s poems cut to the bone. In this poem, Given, few words span a great black canyon in the soul. Yet this poem shimmers with hope and also sighs a promise.

 

Christmas is in the air.
You are given into my hands
out of the quietest, loneliest lands.
My trembling is all my prayer.

“Five Days Old” – Francis Webb

Given

Poolside baby showers
herald the summer pregnancies.
Sweat caresses swollen knees;
mothers tally labour hours;
giftwrap is everywhere.swing
Christmas is in the air.

But by the time you come
first frost has been and gone.
A long walk brings you on.
I howl ten hours, a dumb
animal shocked at pain’s demands.
You are given into my hands:

all downy with the smell
of love, my warm wise frog.
Then: eight months of the black dog.
I crawl back from cold hell
that no one understands
out of the quietest, loneliest lands.

Now you seem newly-made
or is it me, new-born?
Chill fog melts in the dawn
and now I am afraid
of how much I can care.
My trembling is all my prayer.


by Melinda Smith

 

Photo of Melinda SmithMelinda Smith is a widely published ACT poet. Her poems have appeared in Quadrant and The Canberra Times. ‘Given’ won the 2006 David Campbell Prize for best unpublished poem by an ACT poet. It was also shortlisted for the Rosemary Dobson Prize for best unpublished poem by an Australian poet. It was later published in Swings and Roundabouts (anthology by Random House NZ, May 2008). Lines from ‘Five Days Old’ quoted by permission from HarperCollins. You can read more of Melinda’s poems on her  mull and fiddle blog#mce_temp_url#

 

The pic comes from Shuttermeister photo stream #mce_temp_url#. This eerily empty photo reflects the early mood of the poem.

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Trying to wipe a protesting chocolate-smeared face with one preloved tissuefifties-mom

Listening for the sound of the front door latch.

1am. 2am. Where are they? Sleep banished to the drumming of your heart.

Stop bouncing that bloody ball!

 

Darling, you’re a goat in The Three Billy Goats Gruff. You have to be a goat.

Not a princess. Put on some glitter. You can be a goat princess.

The cry, the gasp….pushing new life into the world

How could you cut his hair? Look at him. He looks like an 8-year-old monk!

Yes. I am his mother. What hospital? How bad?

The others? Thank God. (Strong words for an almost atheist.)

 

You can’t wear that t-shirt. I don’t care if everyone’s wearing them

and you are a PORN STAR. No. That’s not what I meant.

Clever boy! Wee wee in the potty. Bring on the brass band!

I can’t just go to the hole in the wall and get money. It doesn’t work like that.

But you can’t be a vegetarian! You don’t like vegetables.

 

The small fey-like fist clasping your little finger

You’ve made some honeycomb. Greeeat! And what tornado hit the kitchen?

Your father and I do know one or two things about sex! Don’t look so shocked!!!!!

STOOOOP! You WERE going to hit that car. I am not panicking.

I’m the licensed driver. You’re the learner. Remember.

Sorry Luke. She’s at Under 14 swimming. Perhaps you could ring back in 2 years time!

 

You will call us from your bohemian hovel, occasionally. Won’t you?

Oh Look! Mummy’s wallets in the toilet! How DO you wash $20 bills?

Knock. Knock. Who’s there. Bumface. Bumface Who? Bumface you!!

The tears. Someone will love you. Sometime. I promise. (I do. I love you.)

 

Motherhood: cont…..

 

Between these moments, maybe because of them

Into your psyche sweeps the image of the Mythical Mom

In her chariot of goodliness. All gleam and glow!

No oil dripping on your thoughts from her chariot hubs.

 

She is, for me, the Fifties TV cup-cake making mom.

A pert Harriet Nelson. Frilly in her stereotype apron.

School lunches packed. Kitchen clean.

Serving me – by reason of certain inadequacies- lashings of cup-cake guilt.

Every so often, I try and fit myself

Into her smooth cup cake mould

But I’m all rough edges and jutting bits

 

I want to warn you about her! The Mythical Mom!

She is a chameleon. She becomes the perfect hue and shade 

Of everything you aren’t!

And she’ll turn up, uninvited on the doorstep of your unease

All knowing, mixing bowl in hand

To marble the shadows of guilt into your motherhood.

 

But those moments (of motherhood)

Are yours. Not hers.

They form the language and texture of your motherhood

They make you into the mother only you can be!        

Kerry Cue                          

 

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