Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Two poems by Myra Schneider


The silk spun from a worm,
the sea’s forget-me-not blue, a newly
born human unmarked by the world,
the word queening a hoarding
and slyly inserted in the caption underneath:
A Life of Pure Style and Indulgence.
                                                        To whet
the appetite a photo of a room juts into sky.
I note the polished floor, slender-legged lamps,                                
faux leather furniture, insistent wall screen,
picture window – no welcoming pet,
pot plant, teapot, open book.
                                   What’s pure,
I ask the paving stones, about stirring up desire
to wine and dine expensively while watching
pulp TV in a room concocted in an office
by a designer who knows exactly
how to tempt today’s buyers?
                                             What’s pure,
I ask a litter bin, about a set of apartments
opposite a car park that’s next to a station fronted
by a pull-in for buses, a set of apartments
which rubs shoulders with the rail track and faces
a street where vehicles queue to join
a manic motorway?
                                         What’s pure
I ask a lamp post about twisting the meaning
out of yet another word? Think: nice, pretty,
awesome, devastating, precisely, each lifeless
as a mouse the cat’s finished with.
                                                      Pure! the word
tolls as I leave the judder in the main road
and trot down to the park, rest my eyes
on trees offering the froth of blossom,
stare at the clot of log, plastic wrappers,
wire coils, chucked cans and lumps of paper
which are jamming the Brook.

'Pure' is taken from Myra's upcoming collection - 'Persephone Finsbury Park' which is due in June 2016.

Myra Schneider’s most recent poetry publications are The Door to Colour (Enitharmon 2014) and What Women Want (Second Light Publications 2012). She was shortlisted for a Forward Prize in 2007. Other books include Writing My Way Through Cancer (Jessica Kingsley 2003), and with John Killick Writing Your Self (Continuum 2009). She tutors for The Poetry School in London, is consultant to the Second Light Network of Women Poets and has co-edited anthologies of work by contemporary women poets. The most recent is Her Wings of Glass (Second Light Publications 2014).


Previously published poem (03/02/2014)

Mambo Dims

It started in the usual territory – I had to organize 
an event involving clumps of people whose clobber
was stranded in difficult locations. The moment

I set out I slipped into a mangrove swamp 
so I hadn’t a hope in hell of finding my notebook 
and working out a sensible plan of action.

The end was absurd: a windowless room 
full of slatted racks like those my father packed 
with apples which crinkled over winter. 

These held mounds of biscuits. I’d just tasted one
which was mouldy when women started leaping 
from the highest shelf. Each made a perfect flight

until my friend Sheena landed twisting a foot. 
She brushed me aside: no worries I’m wearing
my mambo dims. Then everything melted

but through my sleepiness I could still see 
those slip-ons – their feather-lightness
had saved her from harm. And I was amazed

that my brain without consulting me had picked
on a dance I imagine as orange syncopated  
with hot scarlet, to slipper feet smaller,

more slender than mine. Mambo dims, I mouthed 
and my jaws unclamped. And whenever I whisper
mambo dims, mangroves unravel, days untrap me.

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