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Daily Archives: October 7, 2021

Colours, Car, Cat and Choice

By the time we had finished singing in Penryn this morning, the tide had gone right out so I was very glad that a fellow singer encouraged me to ‘Seize the moment!’ when I spotted this lovely colourful reflection.

As we were leaving our fabulous singing session, we were chatting at the junction when a window box went by, stopping long enough at the traffic lights for me to catch a picture. It was delightful to see the little dog in the window once I had uploaded the photo.

The lovely Mr S and I went back to Penryn this afternoon to take the cushions out of the boat for its winter storage. While in the boatyard, I met a ship’s cat, Pearl, just 15 weeks old, who has just learned how to go up and down the ladder.

A bonus for you! Today is National Poetry Day. The theme is choice and on the National Poetry Day website I found a poem by one of my favourite poets whose work I have shared here before. A short extract was read on the radio this morning and I was delighted to find it ‘with kind permission of the poet’ allowing it to be shared. The last few lines particularly resonated with me.  Do click on the link – there are many more poems for you there.

Choice

i

I may raise my child in this man’s house
or that man’s love,
warm her on this one’s smile, wean
her to that one’s wit,
praise or blame at a chosen moment,
in a considered way, say
yes or no, true, false, tomorrow
not today. . .

Finally, who will she be
when the choices are made,
when the choosers are dead,
and of the men I love, the teeth are left
chattering with me underground?
just the sum of me
and this or that
other?

Who can she be but, helplessly,
herself?

ii

Some day your head won’t find my lap
so easily. Trust is a habit you’ll soon break.

Once, stroking a kitten’s head
through a haze of fur, I was afraid
of my own hand big and strong and quivering
with the urge to crush.
Here, in the neck’s strong curve, the cradling arm,
love leers close to violence.

Your head too fragile, child,
under a mist of hair.
Home is this space in my lap, till the body reforms,
tissues stretch, flesh turns firm.
Your kitten-bones will harden,
grow away from me, till you and I are sure
we are both safe.

iii

I spent years hiding from your face,
the weight of your arms, warmth
of your breath. Through feverish nights,
dreaming of you, the watchdogs of virtue
and obedience crouched on my chest. ‘Shake
them off,’ I told myself, and did. Wallowed
in small perversities, celebrated as they came
of age, matured to sins.

I call this freedom now,
watch the word cavort luxuriously, strut
my independence across whole continents
of sheets. But turning from the grasp
of arms, the rasp of breath,
to look through darkened windows at the night,
Mother, I find you staring back at me.

When did my body agree
to wear your face?

© Imtiaz Dharker, from Postcards from god (Bloodaxe Books, 1997)

With kind permission of the poet

 

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