Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Tuesday Poem

I wasn't going to post a Tuesday Poem, I felt too exhausted after a full day's work with two year-olds! but friends encouraged me to 'do it anyway' (thanks Paul and Angela). It turns out that that encouragement was all I needed. Here is an older poem of mine about a memory I have of a fingernail inspection when I was a school-girl (these used to happen in classrooms in the 1960's - I don't know if they still have them - probably not, too un-PC I suspect).

what lovely moons

In our mouths, the taint

of metal and rust

from the drinking fountain.

On our bodies,

the smell of sweat and grass.

Time now, the teacher says,

for fingernail inspection.

Place your hands palms down,

on the desk

in front of you.

Spread-eagled, my fingers

are a cowled row

of Virgin Marys.

The teacher draws close,

her own fingers cool,

narrow, streamlined

dragonflies that touch down

briefly where my fingertips

have begun to make mist.

What lovely moons, she says.

And yes, now I see them too. Pale,


moons still in their beds

but due to rise

sometime soon, and beautifully.

Kay McKenzie Cooke

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Catherine said...

We never had fingernail inspection, but I do recall kneeling on the floor to have my hemline checked - it had to be within an inch or two of the ground when kneeling - that was in the miniskirt years.
I'm not posting Tuesday poems, I just don't have enough that I like enough to keep going for long :(

Melissa Green said...

Yes, I remember kneeling beside my desk for a hemline check, only our plaid uniform skirts had to touch the floor! Catherine, if you don;t have enough poems, you must write some new ones. Kay, "What Lovely Moons" very nicely done

Penelope said...

Lovely, Kay. Those tastes and those smells and those hot little hands...

Claire Beynon said...

"... her own fingers cool,

narrow, streamlined
dragonflies that touch down
briefly where my fingertips
have begun to make mist.
What lovely moons, she says..."

Sigh. Beautiful. Saintly, almost.

Thanks, Kay.
L, C

Tim Jones said...

A lovely poem, Kay, but not an experience I recall.

Did a teacher ever - shudder - make you practise folk dancing in the playground where everyone could see? That's the stuff lifelong trauma is made of.

(But I got a story out of it, so that worked out all right.)

Mim said...

Oh, the grace of being seen and called lovely.

LentenStuffe said...


An alien world made palpable. Nicely, delicately done.

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

Two thumbs up! (No pun intended.)

Love the poem, but I lied about the thumbs! Heeheeheehaahahahaha!

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

...I mean the pun!

Kay Cooke said...

Catherine - I also remember clean handkerchief inspections!

Vespersparrow - Thank you! Yes I remember the hemline inspections too ... what a lot of inspections we had to put up with in those days.(Room inspections at the hostel I stayed at as well ...)

Pen - Yep! A LONG time ago now!

Claire - Thanks! I was all into saints at that age too - well spotted!

Tim (shudder) I do remember folk dancing ... yuk! Embarrassing. Boy germs!!!! Girl germs!!! :)

Mim - Well at least my fingernail beds were seen as lovely - the rest of me was pretty scruffy for the most part (I'm sure my knees were grimy!)

LentenStuffe - The treasure trove of memories stored.

Joyce - Ha! Thanks. :)

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