Poems and Poetry

Claire Meadows

The Lesson | A Poem by Claire Meadows

Did we find answers there? Across
The square they walked in groups, twos, threes.
You watched, trying to recall a lesson,
The Latin I had traced with a fingertip.
A lesson common to them all.

The air was green, and the jasmine had turned,
The smell sickly yellow.
Delicate. No-one could bear it,
But you, who made an afternoon bloom, and
Flushed me out from my study. For all time.
Caught me, like a child, with remembrance.
With voices from your past, breaking my peace,
And deserting me. My love.
You wore your crown of bays and recalled the lesson.
And my place was shattered.

I think we found our answers there. In a place,
That you could break and tear.
Until all that was left was me.
Did you still come willingly?

Matris | A Poem by Claire Meadows

My triumph
in a swaddling sheet
But what is it,
If not a child?

I could never keep
A secret. My womb
Is new, and turning each hour
To make a fresh excuse.

What is it, this stranger
I hold? Bitter smile
Bitter eye, each signal
A cry,

For you could be
A father, but not to me.
No-one ever could;
Their lies, chambers flooded

With pity, not for me
But for the fragments
Of the mother
I will always be.

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