Huddled Way Down Inside Myself

Huddled Way Down Inside Myself

My first prison sentence, my first taste of blood
I should not be here, I protest, for I am no Philistine
And I pine, in isolation, for Old Masters and lyric poetry

During interrogation I perfected the art of emptiness,
Of the expressionless face, of the empty head,
Of unfamiliarity with time, with space, with a memorable place

I succeeded in my mission to remain detached,
To remain apart from my own head, from my own heart
My pain, I was told, is nothing. I am nothing
I am passive, a mere observer. I am characterless
Even to myself. Tabula rasa or terra incognito
I have no role in this story. They cannot coax it from me
So they resort to the wrack and the screw
Throwing in the a slap or two but I remain hidden

Huddled down inside myself
Wondering if I will find myself again

Rag Doll

I am a rag doll
Round-faced, beady-eyed,
Limbs flopping. I swoon

I am lifted
My full moon head
Droops forward and the child
That real, solid, flesh-and-blood child
Who held me in her arms
And screamed for me

From Harrods to Hamleys to village toy shop
From jumble to charity shop to car boot sale

To this small
Sobbing child
Who holds me to her
Who rocks me
She will be the one
Who will take me home

Who will cling to me
After her mother
Tucks us in at night
She will hold me tight
As she murmurs and shifts in sleep
She will never let me go


The Day that Everything Changed

On the day that everything changed
Your plumage and your feathers
Artfully arranged.  Some
Might say, ‘You’re really quite
Deranged.’  We are unlikely
Bedfellows.  You, brave soldier
Me, a pale, dull, nobody

But that old Matchmaker
He knows, he knows.  I had
My first taste of you
On our wedding night
We did everything right
We treated onlookers
To the long-awaited sight

Of the bloodstained bed sheet
A sign of the consummation
Of our day old marriage
Becoming a fragment of history
With no patience for sensibility
Only for the preservation
Of the purity of the lineage

As soon as our honeymoon
Is over, you are off to war
I am left behind and my distress
Is amplified by a hundred servants
And my maid, a soothsayer,
Or so she claims, can sense
A new life flourishing inside me

Feral Cats

This family
Of feral cats,
insouciant
Seeking shelter

From a sudden
eruption of hailstone
Golden eyes
Shining out

Of a damp, dark
Hiding place
Invisible to
The human eye

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