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sambyfield Profile
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Wintering


Wintering

It’s been years. I woke with a feeling
and learnt that, yes, your solitary,
complicated fight was done.

How best to express the fact
that your cells turned against you,
that chemo killed every hair

on your body, time and time again.
You came from not much:
messed up parents who never quite

met their end of the bargain;
a psychotic brother who you loved
without complaint; mother to a son

when you were barely old enough
to call yourself a teenager.
We worked long nights together,

talked politics and poetry,
then when my luck was running low
I moved in with you and Frank.

The way you watched me
was awkward for everyone-
part surrogate mum, part would-be

lover. Then, that night on the
loungeroom floor, Frank asleep
in you bedroom, a bottle of schnapps

empty between us, and your body
on mine, your desperation at
just wanting to be alive – having

turned 40, a milestone the doctors said
you’d never reach, your organs
turning against you one by one.

You’re the last man who’ll ever
touch my breasts
, you told me,
as I tried to unravel the complex

question of what I could and couldn’t
give you. For days you circled me
in the all-too-narrow confines

of your house while Frank watched
on, oblivious or aware, I couldn’t tell.
And now, though it’s been years since

I was in your life, the idea of a world
without you in it is appalling.
I will mourn and miss you quietly,

cold as the winter dawn in Canberra
when I held the last hairs back
from your face as blood flowed

relentless, unstoppable.


Last edited by sambyfield, May/29/2009, 12:14 am
May/28/2009, 8:00 pm Link to this post Send Email to sambyfield   Send PM to sambyfield
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Wintering


I make no comment on this poem. Except to say this is a poem.

Terreson
Jun/6/2009, 7:25 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
sambyfield Profile
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Re: Wintering


Thanks for looking at this one Tere- it's pretty raw in an emotional sense. I'd like it to be good poem, but it's also certainly me working through and trying to understand some stuff, and keep the memory of a pretty amazing person alive.
Jun/23/2009, 7:05 pm Link to this post Send Email to sambyfield   Send PM to sambyfield
 
deepwaters Profile
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Re: Wintering


Sam -

Does this mean that I shouldn't look at it as a poem to examine for criticism, instead just read it as a personal poem and move on? I don't want to be insensitive here and make inappropriate comments.

Hope you are well.
-shab
Aug/2/2009, 11:08 am Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 
sambyfield Profile
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Re: Wintering


Not at all Shab, I wouldn't post it if i didn't want solid feedback so please go ahead.
Aug/3/2009, 1:02 am Link to this post Send Email to sambyfield   Send PM to sambyfield
 
deepwaters Profile
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Re: Wintering


Sam –

This is a moving piece. Here is where I am a bit conflicted. The poem starts reading as if the poet is going to talk about his mother, and then it takes a turn. This is wonderfully in tune with the story. Where I have a problem is that the mother parts are a bit boring, somewhat cliché, and the poem starts weak and bumpy for me. e.g.:


How best to express the fact
that your cells turned against you,
that chemo killed every hair


For this humble reader, the poem’s pulse starts beating here:
The way you watched me
was awkward for everyone-
part surrogate mum, part would-be

lover. Then, that night on the
loungeroom floor, Frank asleep
in you bedroom, a bottle of schnapps

By the way, S8L3, typo on ‘your.’ One other thing that does not sit easy with me is the number of times “Frank” is used. I understand that you want to communicate the fact that she was attached to another man other than the speaker. However, for me at least, names give so much life to characters in such a small space, and then the repetition made me wonder why he was taking so much space. But maybe that *is* the point. I am not sure.


You’re the last man who’ll ever
touch my breasts, you told me,
as I tried to unravel the complex

Puzzling. Is this to tell us that she and Frank did not have a sexual relationship?

The ending is just haunting. The blood flow might have been unstoppable, but your ending stopped me in my tracks and forced me to take notice.

Just my two cents. Thanks for posting.
-s


Aug/3/2009, 10:55 am Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 
sambyfield Profile
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Re: Wintering


Thanks Shab for some gtreat comments. You know, i've struggled with some of those things you've pointed out, especially how to minimise the use of names. I'll give it some more thought.

Interesting that you thought the N's mother was being addressed in the opening, it hadn't occurred to me. I'll think more about how i cansmooth that out.

sam

Aug/5/2009, 10:06 pm Link to this post Send Email to sambyfield   Send PM to sambyfield
 


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