The Hope Chest

 The lid is fast,

grimed with dust and age

polish and grease.

If I could open it,

Hope would fly free,

in an exhaled sigh of moths and grit.

It would catch the throat with incense.

Beeswax breath.

So I content myself with tracing round the carvings,

place my fingers where the brailled blind once did

sit with itchy legs on cut moquette

swing them

describing arcs

as the buckles on my sandals mark the beat.

Smell camphor and apples on the breeze I raise

and wonder drily

where I hid the key.

◄ Gypsy Nanna King

Lorna ►


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Graham Sherwood

Wed 27th Apr 2011 21:00

A lovely wistful snapshot, although wondering drily doesn't work for me.

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Wed 27th Apr 2011 20:58

It's very complex, often contradictory, with loaded allusions. I don't necessarily see Steve's metaphor. I wonder whose 'Hope' chest it really is, the significance of the 'brailled blind' exactly, and why the key is 'hidden' as opposed to lost by the poet, 'I'. And how did 'grit' get into a sealed chest? I guess you are in an attic generally disinfected with 'camphor' somewhere in 'apple' country; or maybe you are storing apples over the winter in hemp baskets. Or 'apples' are homey-thought inducers. Where did the 'grease' come from? Love you Rachel. Wonderful to have you posting again.

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Wed 27th Apr 2011 15:56

And I knew that you knew that Rachel McG wasn't a thick fakester - nor me for that matter. I just like to make trouble...

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Steve Regan

Wed 27th Apr 2011 13:30

The trouble with being a smart arse is that one is often misinterpreted. Of course, I don't think R McG is a "thick fakester"! I am a fan of hers.

However, thick fakesters certainly do abound - on the poetry scene as in life generally.

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Rachel McGladdery

Wed 27th Apr 2011 11:53

Tee hee, I asked for that! Thanks Steve, along with Russell Grant, you really do know me better than I know myself ;)

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Wed 27th Apr 2011 07:28

LOL - who you callin a thick fakester then?

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Steve Regan

Wed 27th Apr 2011 00:40

It's a highly symbolic poem - basically about ... 'If I could open it / Hope would fly free'.

So there's the central metaphor, and with it the unspoken criticism about how (some of us, at certain times) must content ourselves with "tracing round the carvings".

This poem shows it's unsettling to be a modern poet - even for those fakesters who are too thick ever to be true poets.

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Rachel McGladdery

Tue 26th Apr 2011 20:24

Thanks you two, Isobel you certainly can, we can swing our legs together :) xxx

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Tue 26th Apr 2011 19:01

Sad but lovely Rachel. Should I sit on the chest and keep you company?

Can't pick out a favourite bit - just like the way it flows and the subtlety of the ending. xx

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Dave Bradley

Tue 26th Apr 2011 17:57

Enjoyed this, Rachel, especially Beeswax breath and the surprise ending (-:

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