Open 11am to 8pm
Royal Festival Hall (Level 5), Southbank Centre, LondonOpen Tuesday - Sunday from 11am to 8pm
Southbank Centre, The National Poetry Library ; Presiding Spirits ; Poetry International (2000)
after June Jordan
'Is this the way death wins its way against all longing and redemptive thrust from grief?' – June Jordan
Chest rises and falls like memorised song verses
but all staccato,
the wailing begins here.
First-born of all tales is that woman’s womb is an offering basket,
God’s given mandate to multiply and go forth.
First-born of all tales.
Woman – finicky definition to produce an abundance of generations from self.
What a wielding power to covet.
Non-cancerous tumours they say.
Inflamed they say.
Ruptured above uterus detonated, they should say.
Three years only to wield your power they say.
Cut flesh, bruise flesh, burn flesh, failing body.
Chest rises and falls, breathing in descending arpeggio.
Time and I were companions,
are now shadows (tracing each other).
Head buried and reburied on each day,
Hope is scheming her return, knowing she is out-powered.
I feel Agony growing new head-legs in my pain buds,
I stop fighting (for space).
deep sorrow for his passaway
sorry we lost he
after your passaway
I give you river,
cloud reflected in river
You give back river
you give back cloud
sorry we lost he
I give you whirling dervish of house,
half-mile of heron
You give them back,
you are passaway
I give you memory
of our weekdays and weekends
and all the days in between
You give them back
with or without sorrow
I can’t tell
I give you hodgepodge of spiders,
Love’s dagger-proof coat,
myself when young
I give you river and cloud,
you return them, unused,
don’t need them