Poems without images? That’s a mistake. I reckon all my poems have images, verbal images: that’s what makes an effective poem. See my blog called Images and explanations.
The following poem is the first in a sequence of poems in the voice of the clothes of famous and not-so-famous women. It won first prize in the Enfield Writers Competition 2015-6 judged by Anne-Marie Fyfe.
Agnes Richter’s Jacket
When she’s calm, she takes me on her lap,
smooths out my creases. She has pieced together
strips of asylum uniforms, made them her own.
They give her needle and thread and the work begins.
Often indecipherable. I hear nurses trying to work out
her meanings but I understand her arabesques.
I know how she has stitched herself into my fabric.
She sings, croons in a low voice while she works.
“Ich bin, Ichhabe,” she writes with her needle.
In places she embroiders “Kinder, Bruder, Schwester.”
Everywhere, inside and out, 583, her laundry number.
She has made me herself, her comforter.
Here’s another recent poem with plenty of verbal images:
Ways of Seeing
Mum called them her binnies,
Christmas present from Dad:
they changed our lives.
Every Sunday out on the hills
she’d watch a kestrel lift and rise
or bent low she’d focus on the shelves
of fungi protruding from a fallen trunk.
And when we stopped at Arbor Low
she’d let the binnies turn the strutting geese
into pteradactyls while she cowered
in the shadow of the stones as if they
still stood upright in their giant circle.
She didn’t seem to care that Sal and I
had become infant dwarfs, or that Dad
had dwindled to nothing in her naked eyes.