Sally’s latest words for me were GO, FREAKY and TREE. I wrote this poem remembering a time when I was 12. I’d been to an after-school music class and waved at my friends as they all got into cars and headed off for dinner. And then I waited — for what seemed like forever (but was probably only 5 minutes) — for my Mum to come and pick me up …
It’s 6 o’clock.
On my own on the bench
I swing my legs,
I hum a bit
and start counting in my head.
When I get to 63
a car pulls into the car park.
I stand —
but it’s not our car.
Behind me, a tree starts to whisper and rustle,
some freaky wind moves its branches.
Down here on the bench it’s as still as still.
I try to look — to the side, without turning my head,
is that something in the tree?
It’s been almost a month since Rebecca gave me the words form, age and fervent. I don’t know why it has taken me so long – I do know it was the mix of fervent and form which kept taking me down intriguing paths, then tripping me up.
Anyway, I ran into Rebecca at the Perth Writers Festival yesterday and she was very polite about my slackness, which of course made me feel guilty. Since I’m also doing a challenge this month to write a poem n a Post it Note everyday for February, she suggested I use the words for one of my postitnote poems. And voilà, today I managed to write a poem that meets both Poetry Tag and Postitnote Poetry requirements:
At age 5
I dreamt of the tooth fairy
to replace my tiny offerings
with silver coins.
Now I’m older
(and told such things aren’t real)
but I can’t stop
the fervent wish that forms
when I look round my house:
send me a cleaning fairy!
(© Sally Murphy, 2015)
And, just to prove that it does indeed fit on a postitnote, here it is again:
Right. So. You might remember that Sally gave me SORDID and BUT to work into a poem. (Thank you, Sally. Hmm.)
We’ve had some
little loud visitors in our roofspace recently and so I wrote this for them. I’m sure their mothers love them, even if I don’t.
Scuttle to your sordid bed,
still your paws, rest your head.
Don’t twitch your whiskers, or ruckle your nose,
but sleep until dusk brings the day to a close.
(Rebecca Newman, 2015)
When Rebecca gave me my latest batch of words – my, virtue and supper – I couldn’t stop thinking about the biblical Last Supper. I tried to write about something different, because I have not ever really written religious poetry and didn’t know where I would go with it. But this was the topic that I kept coming back to. Finally, it was the word ‘my’ which gave me a way in: who was there at the last supper who might want their story told? Finally, I decided it was a woman, and here is what I came up with.
At that last supper
the men ate and drank
and hung on your every word
Little knowing it would be
their last meal together –
even when you, my heart,
told them one would soon betray you,
artists recreated that moment
showing your quiet virtue
their various states of adoration,
What they forgot, those masters of the arts,
(or perhaps it was their priestly chiefs)
was that we women were there,
and children, too
(Sally Murphy, 2015. All rights reserved)
‘Basic’ was a hard word to weave into a poem — did anybody else out there have a go at it? I kept coming back to one memory from when I was 9. That memory still stings, so I wrote about that.
Times Tables Champ
Every Friday afternoon was our Times Tables competition,
we stood in twos up the front,
there was always a pause before the teacher called the sum.
I hoped for a basic one,
tens and elevens were best —
my mouth could shout the answer
before my head had heard the sum.
(Fives were good too, but I never liked eights much.)
One Friday I beat the reigning champ.
When I sat down
someone behind me muttered
“You’re not the true champ,
you’ve only won once.”
Rebecca Newman 2014