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Where Women Glow

May 30, 2012

marked us out from the start –
a shiver across the Fens
who calls their house that?

Dad couldn’t shake his easy g’day
it hung in the air behind
him – eucalyptus haze –

and mum – it was her vowels
raised eyebrows, drew village looks
amongst the after school huddle

their tight weave of knowing glances
crochet-hooked to last, flicked
the net close round them
-not us

-suited me fine
no, not Rebecca
nope, not Christened and
never allowed to watch
(so common) Coronation Street

ran faster, netted more goals
(wing attack)
shoved remorselessly
and danced sharper to Prince Buster,
honing, over flat years, a tonic Sta-prest sneer,
a sharp mouth, a long plan –

off-comers with
no urge to sink
into black peat middle ground

short roots

for a clean exit southerly.


Linking to another wonderful Open Link Night at ~ where poets come to read

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  1. Jo @ SummertimePublishing permalink

    So now we know everything about you. I loved ‘shoved remorselessly’ and retractable roots, particularly. Very clever. A snapshot of your childhood.

    • Thanks Jo… some poetic licence in what was selected for inclusion here.. always an eye to the narrative.. 🙂 Hope it feels authentic.. I was certainly drawing on my own experience.

  2. pristine…sharp-edged…crystalline…a black-and-white photo, poetry perfect

  3. def a sharp edge to your descriptions…glad of the short roots and escape…sometimes that is the best thing for sure…

  4. Not sure if I get the hang of this one, but loved ‘eucalyptus haze’… Something primordial and exotic about it.

    • Thanks for the feedback Face.. much appreciated. It’s about a very specific small-town English up-bringing – not surprising that feels a little hard to penetrate..

  5. Great opener! Who calls their house that?

  6. Oooo, ok there! Loved the picture, the tight words, the freeness of the verse, the last six lines, leaving me smiling.

  7. This is so tightly spun, so quick, perceptive, sharp–just like the protagonist!!! This was a pleasure to read again and again.

  8. The line eucaplytus haze evoked some really strong childhood memories for me–who grew up in a grove of them in Southern California. I think that reiterates how much the sense of smell stimulates our remembering. Nice.

    • I’m with you there Victoria and love to use smell in my poetry.. for just that reason. It is such an intense concentration of a moment. Thanks for visiting.. great to see you here.

  9. i used to watch coronation street when i was in bracknell for a month…brought back some memories..tightly penned becky and like victoria enjoyed that you wove in some scent..

  10. This narrative is wonderful. It gives me another level to link with you since I also had short roots and didn’t quite fit. Luckily, I found who I was without the ritual influences as you did. Love the infusion of scent and motion 🙂

  11. Thanks, Beth… happy to hear you can identify. People are worth putting roots down for, not places I think. Glad I had the opportunity to up and go…

  12. A few times now I have read the ‘fair field full of flowers’ poem
    and I feel like that needs a bit of work because i find in it there are artificialdoms which distract me (from the moment) kind of like the way a man doesn’t want too smell potpourri in a room, he wants to smell a woman. Then I think that’s what a man wants, and I really have no idea what a woman wants. Maybe it’s a good to go poem. This poem fairly races along but I found that with my colonial roots I could follow along and if this was a part of your childhood then aspects of it were of my childhood also. Could I say it’s the most real poem I’ve read from you and certainly when you are approaching any poem you can come at it from any way-point but, I appreciated that honesty here. It was something to follow – and I feel a bit sad after it, like when you go through an old album and see pictures of your children, bittersweet is the thing. Like the fight in you.

    • Thanks Daniel for your (always) thoughtful comments on both the poems you mention. This one is absolutely straight out of my memories, and far as memories are real, this is. I’m happy to know it feels the genuine article.

      As for the fair field.. couldn’t be more of a contrast.. it is artificial in the sense that it is consciously a construction, surrealist in some ways, attempting I suppose to approach what is lurking in our (my)corners, real and felt, but often denied, ignored or not accurately identified. A unicorn seemed a useful way of tackling that… I’d be really interested to know which bits you find hard to take or whether it’s the concept as a whole..?

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