Saturday, 26 November 2011

Poems: At Eighty Three She Lives Alone



The poet, Ruth Stone, died this week aged 96. I’ve only recently discovered her. Apologies to those who hate the word “cunt” but I think it fits well and her work shouldn’t be censored. This is such a poignant poem about ageing and our invisibility in society, in spite of our often unchanged inner world.

At Eighty-three She Lives Alone

By Ruth Stone

Enclosure, steam-heated; a trial casket.
You are here; your name on a postal box;
entrance into another place like vapour.
No one knows you. No one speaks to you.
All of their cocks stare down their pant legs
at the ground. Their cunts are blind. They
barely let you through the check-out line.
Have a nice day. Plastic or paper

Are you origami? A paper folded swan,
like the ones you made when you were ten?
When you saw the constellations, lying
on your back in the wet grass,
the soapy pear blossoms drifting
and wasting, and those starts, the burned out ones
whose light was still coming in waves;
your body was too slight.
How could it hold such mass?
Still on your lips the taste of something

All night you waited for morning, all morning
for afternoon, all afternoon for night;
and still the longing sings.
Oh, paper bird with folded wings

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