Monday, 26 July 2010

Tuesday Poem - 'restrain'

Today a fierce four-year old boy with the narrow, freckled look of a feral cat, has on his feet boots his mother bought him from The Warehouse which he uses to kick at the world piece by piece and anyone who stands in his way. It’s up to me to hold him until he calms down and the murmuring chortle of the doves from their cage in the playground can once more be heard. Afterwards, my heart feels as if it has been wrung of blood. I stand in the staff-room with its cold, linoleum floor and drink water from a tall glass. I stare out at a leafless tree where three sparrows hang, and consider eternity. 

Kay McKenzie Cooke
This poem started off as a prose poem, then I changed it to a regular poem and posted it here on my blog (about three years ago now). But after reading it again recently, I decided it reads better in its prose-poem form.
(The boy in the poem will now be an eight year old). 

PS If my Irish poet friend Barbara calls by, she might be interested to see that I have finally met the challenge she threw out, a month or two ago now, to feature the word 'linoleum' in a poem.

For more Tuesday poems please go here


Paparoa said...

Hi Kay - interesting kid. Feral is always such a good word and I love "cold linoleum" - conjures so much, like "Formica benchtop" and "boiling the Zip" - another New Zealand somewhere long ago.
I'd like to the the other versions too.

Paparoa said...

Oops - meant "I'd like to see the other versions", the drafts before the prose poem iteration.

AJ Ponder said...

linoleum has a certain ring.
Yes, doves and a cat in the playground. Quite a frightening little image you have going on here.

Penelope said...

Heart-wrung, indeed, and a poem wrung from the wringing. I wonder what he (the boy)'d make of the fact? Thanks, Kay.

Claire Beynon said...

I really like the form you've settled on, Kay. It has something solid and building block-like about it (I'm not sure how to say that more expressively!). The words 'feral', 'kick', 'chortle' 'doves', 'heart', 'blood', 'linoleum', 'sparrows' and 'eternity' emit such energy; each suggests a different temperature.

You will have been a great gift to that wee boy.

How much we impact each other's worlds.

L, C

Claire Beynon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
richardg said...

Kay, once again I love the images you create.They are so vivid and believable.I haven't read a lot of prose poetry so am still getting used to that form.

Lydia said...

Yours is the first prose-poem I have ever read (at least that was identified as such). I feel enlightened, but not only due to the new experience. The poem is a stark study. Worrisome in a tender way. And I love the photo of the beautiful dove.

Synchronicity: I had just visited The Half-Life of Linoleum blog prior to clicking over here. How amazing is that?! (He is changing things up at his blog by switching around from light to black backgrounds so if you visit on a black day you have to hunt around in the dark with your cursor to find links, etc. He is obviously going through something and is taking us along for the ride.)

Catherine said...

The dove photo is so appropriate for the poem, the way it feels fenced in by the rock walls - protected or imprisoned? Or maybe a bit of both?

Helen Lowe said...

I found this very evocative--the fierceness of the boy, the cooing of the doves, the long drink of water. The way the words chosen reinforce that ...

Kay Cooke said...

Paparoa - Thanks Jeffrey. I'd love to include 'boiling the zip' and 'formica benchtop' in a poem at some stage!
The drafts are around ... maybe one day I will show evidence of process.

AL Ponder - Yes that about sums it up actually - and me and my heart in the middle (or in my mouth!)

Pen - One day he might find out ... :)

Claire - As always your words bring comfort and courage and encouragement.

Richard - Thanks so much. It's not a form I use a lot, but sometimes it's the only way a certain poem wants to sit.

Lydia - Thanks - I was pleased that one of the few photos I have taken of doves fitted so well.

Catherine - I am so pleased you noticed that - my thoughts exactly! :)

Helen - I appreciate your comments so much - thank you!

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