New 2009 poetry

The River Ure

The River Ure in Spate, January 2009

I have just been on an amazing visit up Wharf dale in search of waterfalls. I had not done that trip in winter and the landscape was very bare, beautiful and most of the rivers were near to flooding point. I do not think this photograph does the scene justice!

I seem to have had a dry period over the festive season when it comes to writing, but here is something that I have managed to finish. I began this poem in a workshop run by the fabulous Ann Sansom at a National Association for Writers in Education’s retreat last year. Ann asked the group to write in the first person from the point of view of a baby about to be born, and read us a poem by Sharon Olds. I hope this is not too derivative of Sharon Olds (who does this kind of intimate poem so well it is difficult to know where you start yourself after reading her work, I think!). Please leave me a comment if you have a view on this topic.

Worcester Park General Hospital

I’m kept in a box. I blink.

Smell hot plastic. Stretch out my hand

to watch a pattern of light redden.

I’m a glow-in-the-dark; half-fish

with slithery lungs in a ribcage supple as a slipper.

My skull’s pointed, yet to harden.

My hold on life is lax.

Mother’s face rises like a full moon

and her eyes cloud over with green.

I’ve lost her metronome heartbeat.

I’ve no idea of the comfort of her milk-tipped

nipple, nor the crook of her arm,

nor the rhythm of a walk in the park

with sycamore leaves to soften the sun’s stare.

Anne Caldwell

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3 thoughts on “New 2009 poetry”

  1. The line, ‘I’m a glow -in- the- dark; half fish’ reminded me of Sylvia Plath’s ‘You’re’ at first, which was a good memory. I like your poem, it is different from Sharon Olds in that it is quite gentle, less violent and bloody. I guess it depends on your experiences of birth -yours and your baby’s. Mine were more panicky than this; the babies, I imagine felt more urgency to be born as they were so overdue.

    I like the image of the ‘sycamore leaves to soften the sun’s stare.’

  2. I swear, this is far better than half the jazz they shovel down our throats for GCSEs. Woohoo, go Anne! /wave from me.

  3. Thank you Will! Really good to hear from you.
    I don’t know whether studying poetry at GCSE encourages you to like it – there is a whole world out there thank goodness once you are through with these exams.

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