Vol 1 No 12
You came here twenty years ago, a refugee.
You now possess a British passport; qualify for the old age pension.
Your mother is buried in Ireland.
Your husband is buried in Poland, known as Russia in recent maps.
Your brother has finally settled in Montreal.
Your sons went to Malaya to fight bandits; went to Africa; went to Canada.
Your daughter breeds pigs in Cornwall writing verse in a foreign tongue.
Their letters tell you of crocodiles and apes; of great elephants perfectly
still guarding their tusks in wild places;
Of deep winters and huskies and the song of the huskies pitched in a
Of kingfishers and seagulls and the tides of the surrounding sea, until you
almost forget the streams of your childhood.
You understand the language of your in-laws; of yours they have now
mastered ‘tak i nie’.
Your grand-children (and one is a cripple) do not speak your mother-
but they have learnt to call your ‘Babcia’ which means ‘grandmother’.
This is one of your happiest words.
Sometimes you are amused to have such a mongrel family.
Sometimes you think ‘this is very strange’.
Sometimes you get muddled which language applies to which.
Sometimes you still take to church your native Missal; but seldom now; and
only by mistake.
You have said that you dream in English.
Until the age of forty you have never entertained a divorced person in your
Until the age of forty you had not known the word ‘homosexual’ — yet you
were civilized and broadminded and not unduly sheltered.
Until the age of forty you had never been short of money; then a friend
said ‘beggars are not choosers.’
You have never missed church on a Sunday.
You have never been to a psychiatrist.
You have never said or thought ‘I could not care less.’
You have not allowed your suffering to become a mental obsession.
You have considered sin to be the greatest evil.
You are now an old woman of great beauty, strong and serene, at home
with the elements, and as it were used to taming foreigners, birds and
And although — unawares — your face drifts off into layers of sadness,
This has only been known to happen when gates are shut after children,
Or when, in between courses, a door bangs and bangs in the draught and
all of a sudden
There is nothing whatsoever to say.
- 10th Muse
- Angel Exhaust
- Blithe Spirit
- Brando's hat
- Brittle Star
- Cannon's Mouth, The
- Coffee House, The
- Dream Catcher
- Floating Bear, The
- French Literary Review, The
- Frogmore Papers, The
- Global Tapestry
- Grosseteste Review
- Homeless Diamonds
- Interpreter's House, The
- Journal, The
- Lamport Court
- London Magazine, The
- Modern Poetry in Translation
- Monkey Kettle
- Neon Highway
- New Welsh Review
- North, The
- Obsessed with pipework
- Oxford Poetry
- Painted, spoken
- Paper, The
- Pen Pusher Magazine
- Poetry Cornwall
- Poetry London
- Poetry London (1951)
- Poetry Nation
- Poetry Review
- Poetry Salzburg Review
- Poetry Scotland
- Poetry Wales
- Purple Patch
- Rain Dog
- Reach Poetry
- Review, The
- Rialto, The
- Second Aeon
- Seventh Quarry, The
- Smiths Knoll
- Strange Faeces
- Tabla Book of New Verse, The
- Tolling Elves
- Ugly Tree, The
- Wolf, The
- Yellow Crane, The