Sunday, December 8, 2013
Carol Ann Duffy - Three Poems
The year dwindles and glows
to December’s red jewel,
my birth month.
The sky blushes
and lays its cheek
on the sparkling fields.
Then dusk swaddles the cattle,
simple as faith.
These nights are gifts,
our hands unwrapping the darkness
to see what we have.
The train rushes ecstatic,
to where you are,
my bright star.
When did your name
change from a proper noun
to a charm?
Its three vowels
on the thread of my breath.
brushing my mouth
like a kiss.
I love your name.
I say it again and again
in this summer rain.
I see it,
discreet in the alphabet,
like a wish.
I pray it
into the night
till its letters are light.
I hear your name
rhyming with everything.
We came from our own country in a red room
which fell through the fields, our mother singing
our father’s name to the turn of the wheels.
My brothers cried, one of them bawling Home,
Home, as the miles rushed back to the city,
the street, the house, the vacant rooms
where we didn’t live any more. I stared
at the eyes of a blind toy, holding its paw.
All childhood is an emigration. Some are slow,
leaving you standing, resigned, up an avenue
where no one you know stays. Others are sudden.
Your accent wrong. Corners, which seem familiar,
leading to unimagined, pebble-dashed estates, big boys
eating worms and shouting words you don’t understand.
My parents’ anxiety stirred like a loose tooth
in my head. I want our own country, I said.
But then you forget, or don’t recall, or change,
and, seeing your brother swallow a slug, feel only
a skelf of shame. I remember my tongue
shedding its skin like a snake, my voice
in the classroom sounding just like the rest. Do I only think
I lost a river, culture, speech, sense of first space
and the right place? Now, Where do you come from?
strangers ask. Originally? And I hesitate.
Posted by vicsmuse at 8:48 AM