I have always wanted one of these mysterious and enviable spaces in the lives of my academical chums.
To love at all is to be vulnerable…
In and out, we four girls, arguing. Quick as light. No-one wallowed there. / “Hot water isn’t cheap you know, it costs me dear.”
If you want a glimpse into her childhood ask me/ for no-one knew her, loved her, cherished her more than I — / and my playmate, of long, long ago/ knew, loved and cherished me.
My godmother used to keep us busy on a prematurely dark evening, say mid-November, by playing this game. She would throw a line at us with the challenge to make a poem of it. One I remember went: “I took a knife and killed my cat to make a coat for Pidge.”
“If she could choose a place to die, if she had said: ‘let it be here, the holly walk, by party field, beneath a huge tempestuous sky, in sight of fields familiar, dear, with bluebells everywhere.”
“Watch out our Anne! Swing as high as you can! By the gate, with a dog, near the pond is a dirty old man.”
Queenie. Eva. Lil. Are waiting. Still. Improbably clean and stretched and white. On high beds. In electric light. On Headington Hill.
“What did you do today girlie?” I prayed not to die on the street of tat. Not to fall on the gum-puddled polka dot pavement, lever’d & cracked.
Little lady, brave in your Pink, with your glorious plumage, your ready smile, your ignorance of aged infirmities! You shamed our gloomy autumn woolens, our sniffles and Keep Out faces.